Three emergencies have made their way into the field for the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast after a busy day for Queensland veterinary stewards.
The first horse to come out of the $2 million event on race eve was the Toby Edmonds-trained Sundance with a hoof issue, paving the way for Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne to ride Rainy Day Woman for Les Ross.
Gary Portelli, trainer of the second emergency Zafina, put the filly on a float from Sydney on Thursday night in anticipation of at least one more scratching while Andrew Suli made the road trip from Rockhampton with third emergency Party Pardee.
On Friday afternoon, Queensland vets determined the Paul Perry-trained Conchita was lame in her off hind leg giving Zafina a start and later confirmed Jason McLachlan would not have the chance to emulate his 2009 win with Phelan Ready when they ruled Dieters out with leg soreness.
Brenton Avdulla has picked up the ride on Zafina who is owned by a group headed by Magic Millions proprietor Gerry Harvey.
The drama has had little effect on betting with Capitalist destined to start one of the shortest-priced favourites in the 29-year history of the race.
Rainy Day Woman has come in for support at $101 from small punters with memories of Payne’s win on outsider Prince Of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup.
UBET betting manager Gerard Daffy said with continuing good weather and the upgrade of the track on Friday, Capitalist could start as short as Snitzel who ran third in 2005 at $1.50.
“The fact they are saying the track will dry out more should bring out even more of the big punters,” Daffy said.
“Capitalist could start as short as $1.50 if the track is shown to play truly in the early races on Saturday.
“The interesting thing is that since Rainy Day Woman got a run 80 per cent of our bets have been on her. It is obviously the Michelle Payne factor as they are not big bets, just plenty of them.”
Trainer Peter Snowden says he has been happy with Capitalist since the colt’s elevated temperature scare last week.
“We plan to ride him forward. If he got back in the field Blake (jockey Shinn) would have to ride him for luck and you don’t want that in a big race,” he said.
Rainy Day Woman’s trainer Ross was also happy she got a run after several of his other horses narrowly failed to make the cut.
“I have had more seconds than a clock of late so it is a change of luck,” he said.