Unencumbered is still the one to beat for Magic Millions
SYDNEY colt Unencumbered has retained his position as favourite for Saturday's $2 million Magic Millions with no obvious contenders emerging from the weekend's racing around the country.
The son of Testa Rossa was listed at $4.20 with Tattsbet yesterday, ahead of fellow Sydney youngster Invisible at $5.
Unencumbered has experience on his side having won four of his five starts, including the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben at his last outing.
Described by trainer Bjorn Baker as "bombproof" after that win, Unencumbered won narrowly from Real Saga filly Stroak who suffered her first defeat in three runs.
The leading Queensland runner in the Magic Millions is the Danny Bougoure-trained Oakleigh Girl, the one-time favourite who drifted to $8 following her fourth in the McLachlan.
The daughter of boom sire Snitzel engaged in a speed battle with Echo Gal in that race, jockey Craig Newitt saying the filly's effort to be beaten a little by only two lengths was excellent in the circumstances, adding he was happy to leg up again at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Oakleigh Girl created a big impression when she won on debut at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week with Newitt aboard.
Echo Girl meanwhile has been cleared to run in the Magic Millions after her flop in the McLachlan.
A veterinary inspection after that race, in which she dropped out to finish eighth of the nine runners, almost 17 lengths behind Unencumbered, revealed she was suffering from the thumps.
Stewards subsequently ordered the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly to trial to their satisfaction before being allowed to run in the two-year-old classic.
Echo Gal, now a $17 chance after being as short as $4 before her last-start failure, was given the all-clear on Saturday after galloping over 600m on the course proper at Eagle Farm with stable jockey Mark Newnham in the saddle.
"She worked fantastic," Newnham told racenet.com.au. "She zoomed up the last furlong and (Queensland steward) Allan Reardon passed her."
The daughter of Stratum has slipped to 18th in the order of entry so will need four runners ahead of her to drop out to gain a start.