Newcomer Magic Wand does winning trick
Two-time trial winner still green but wins first-up all the same
At the 300m mark aboard debutant and favourite Magic Wand in yesterday's Race 3, jockey Manoel Nunes wished he had exactly that instead of a whip to get out of the pickle he was in.
Upfront, Lonhro Gold (Jeff Lyoyd) looked all poised to pick up the top prize as he swept past tiring leader Eastiger (Michael Rodd) in the $75,000 Victoria Peak Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race over 1,200m.
Behind him and four lengths astern, the $11 favourite had his backers looking to heavens for a miracle as the Star Witness three-year-old was not mustering speed as he should and there did not seem to be any way out from the wall of horses he was stuck behind.
Things looked hopeless. Only a magic trick could get Magic Wand home from where he was.
But the moment Nunes saw a gap appear on the outside of Glamorous (Vlad Duric) 200m out, hopes were suddenly rekindled.
The two-time barrier trial winner, who showed gate speed then, proved he could also unleash a late turn of foot as he came motoring home on the outside under Nunes' persuader to go and record a soft one-and-three-quarter-length win from Lonhro Gold.
Glamorous hung on to his third place, half a length away.
The winning time was 1min 11.83sec for the 1,200m on the Long Course B.
Magic Wand is the first of a new batch of horses raced by the Titanium Racing Stable sent to trainer Bruce Marsh to win.
"He won his two trials in pretty weak company, but he did show natural ability," said Marsh.
"He's a very laid-back horse and has a good engine and a great pedigree. From the nature he has, he is more like a staying sort of horse."
Nunes, who is caught in a race against time to make up the nine-win margin on leading jockey Vlad Duric, was able to square off with his Australian rival after the latter scored earlier aboard Kingsman.
"This horse has a lot of ability but is still very green," said the Brazilian, a three-time Singapore champion jockey.
"Today's race worked out differently, though. We were supposed to go in front but the other horses were quicker.
"I just bided my time at the back and luckily he found the line very well once he found a gap.
"He's a lovely horse and I took my time with him as he still doesn't know what to do. When I pushed him, he responded very well and I was very pleased with his run today."