Karuta Queen leads the pack
A SENSATIONAL track gallop by Magic Millions Classic favourite Karuta Queen has left veteran Gold Coast clockers in awe of the unbeaten filly ahead of her bid to win Saturday’s $2 million feature.
Noel Doyle, who has been training and clocking horses at the Gold Coast for almost 40 years, rated Karuta Queen’s 1000-metre workout on the velvet track as one of the best he’d seen.
The filly, who was forced to use the synthetic track after the waterlogged course proper was closed, clocked 33.8 seconds for her final 600 metres.
“That’s near unbeatable,” Doyle said. “She galloped against a filly of mine who is a maiden and beat her by around eight lengths. The velvet track was put down around 15 years ago and I can’t recall many clocking that time.
“What she did was enormous work and only exceptional horses can do it.”
Trainer Neville Layt was disappointed to miss a grass gallop with the daughter of Not A Single Doubt who was ridden by Michael Cahill.
Cahill, who will ride Queensland youngster Playtime in the Magic Millions Classic, was also stunned by the filly’s hit out.
“She’s a very fast filly and obviously has a lot of ability,” Cahill said.
“She’s very light on her feet and she feels like she’ll have no problem going through heavy ground.
“The biggest thing in her favour is her speed.”
Layt, who has retained apprentice Tommy Berry for Karuta Queen on Saturday, believes only a bad barrier stands in the way of a Magic Millions Classic victory.
“She’s an on-the-speed runner which is to her advantage as the backmarkers won’t be able to get through it and pick her up,” Layt said.
“The time she ran today was the same she ran before she won the Magic Millions at Wyong.”
Trainer Alan Bailey, who saddles up Five O’Clock in the Magic Millions Classic, noted Karuta Queen’s time with interest.
“If she ran that time she’s done alright,” Bailey said.
Bailey is also desperate for a good barrier for Five O’Clock who won two of his first three starts before finishing third to Pepper Jet at the Gold Coast on New Year’s Day.
Gold Coast Turf Club officials remain optimistic the Magic Millions meeting will proceed if there’s a break in the weather.
A contingency plan to shift the $4.3 million program to Sunday has been drafted should the big flood in south-east Queensland continue.
“By Wednesday we should be through the worst of the weather,”Magic Millions managing director Stephen Silk said.
“The Gold Coast is one of the best wet-weather tracks in Australia.”