Queen races away with Millions
A BABY-FACED apprentice and a battling trainer invaded the playground of the rich and famous and upstaged the biggest names in racing when Karuta Queen won the Magic Millions Classic on Saturday.
At just his second ride on the tricky Gold Coast track, Tommy Berry showed the nation's best jockeys how it was done when he led throughout on the flying filly to give Queanbeyan trainer Neville Layt his biggest success in 40 years of racing.
Karuta Queen ($3.50 fav) gave the big crowd an awesome display of her sustained speed when she led throughout to record a 2-3/4-length win over Combat Kitty ($14) with Schiffer ($5.50) a short head back third.
“It hasn't sunk in yet,” Layt beamed
Berry, 19, showed nerves of steel to become only the second apprentice after Michael Rodd to win the Magic Millions Classic in the race's 24-year history.
Rodd won the feature on Regimental Gal in 2003 and Berry acknowledged his feat had elevated him into esteemed company.
“The most emotional part for me is to win this race in front of my family. They all came to the Coast to watch me and I am so happy to get the job done,” Berry said.
“The media attention all week is something I haven't been used to but I stayed focused.”
Karuta Queen's owner Glenn Williams paid $30,000 for her at last year's Gold Coast sales and the Not A Single Doubt filly is now unbeaten in four runs for earnings of $1.41 million.
Layt, himself a former jockey, said Karuta Queen was a once-in-a-lifetime horse.
“I get excited when they win at Queanbeyan so something like this is amazing,” he said.
“This little filly has taken me on the ride of my life and it's only getting started.
“She is a very, very special racehorse.”
Berry said he was confident Karuta Queen would win at the halfway mark of the $2 million 1200m feature.
“She's an unbelievable horse and she was never in doubt,” he said.
“We must have been running along because nobody came up alongside her when I got to the front and when I let her go she exploded.”