Zara Phillips MBE, Eventing team Olympic silver medallist in London 2012 and former European and World Champion, has been announced as the first Magic Millions Racing Women (MMRW) Ambassador, an appointment that will see her visit Australia in early January 2013 for the week-long Magic Millions Carnival.
An internationally accomplished equestrienne, Ms Phillips brings to the MMRW initiative a genuine passion for the industry and depth of knowledge. She fosters a lifelong passion for horses, ignited by her parents and grandmother’s commitment to thoroughbred sporting endeavours.
Daughter of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, Ms Phillips holds a number of elite sporting accolades, including earlier this month when she won a silver medal in team eventing at the London Olympic Games. She is a former European individual and team Gold medallist as well as individual World Champion in 2006. She was named the 2006 BBC Sports Personality of the Year and was conferred a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to equestrianism in 2007.
Magic Million’s Racing Women initiative was created to educate and encourage Australian women to become more active in all aspects of the thoroughbred racing industry. Ms Phillips will be the perfect spokesperson to create awareness for this important initiative in Australia and internationally.
Speaking from her UK stables post-Olympics, Ms Phillips said how pleased she is to be associated with Australia’s premier thoroughbred sales company, Magic Millions, and to be representing its Racing Women initiative.
“I got involved in Magic Millions Racing Women to help try and raise awareness of the many different ways in which women can be involved in this amazing industry, including horse ownership, and to raise the profile of women in the racing industry in Australia, by encouraging women to get more involved.
“Magic Millions is having a race where there will be horses competing that are solely owned by women. There are additional prizes for the first four horses owned by women that cross the line. I mean all over the world there are a lot of very successful women that own race horses. And the Australians want to make it more high profile and inclusive,” said Ms Phillips.
MMRW was launched in 2011 by Magic Millions co-owner and thoroughbred horse racing industry advocate, Katie Page-Harvey. Her vision is to continue to increase the profile of women in the sector with which she has been involved for over 30 years. Ms Page-Harvey is delighted to have such an internationally accomplished equestrienne to help educate women about the MMRW initiative.
“We are delighted that Zara has agreed to be the inaugural ambassador for the Magic Millions Racing Women initiative. She was an exemplary ambassador for her sport and her country at the recent Olympic Games in London and we look forward to welcoming her to Australia in January.
“The aim of the Racing Women initiative is to increase the profile of women within our industry and involve more women in ownership. Thoroughbred racing contributes $5 billion to gross domestic product each year* and we know women work to create a lot of this output.
“We want to shine a light on women’s vital contribution and make it easy for women to participate through horse ownership. Statistics indicate that less than 25% of Australia's racehorses are owned by women either as individuals or in all-female partnerships**. I’d like to see more. Through ownership you become involved in all facets of the business – training, tactics and the thrill of a win is like nothing else”, Ms Page-Harvey said.
Ms Phillips talked exclusively to The Australian Women’s Weekly’s about her ambassadorship for this month’s story, which appears on newsstands today.
“The Australian Women’s Weekly flew to London to interview Zara Phillips shortly after she competed in the Olympics. It was an incredibly rare opportunity to talk to Zara. In the interview she gives readers a rare look into her very private world which revolves almost exclusively around her love for horses. She also talked about how excited she was to be returning to Australia,” says Helen McCabe, Editor-In-Chief, The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Jann Stuckey, said Ms Phillips’ presence at the Magic Millions Raceday will draw national and international attention.
“We are very excited to welcome Ms Phillips to Queensland for this iconic race day and I would like to congratulate her on securing the role as Ambassador for the Magic Millions Racing Women initiative.
“To attract an internationally recognised equestrienne of Ms Phillips’ standard to the Magic Millions Raceday and Carnival is a fantastic example of Queensland’s growing status as a premier event and holiday destination.
“The Newman Government recognises the importance of events like Magic Millions in supporting Queensland’s tourism industry – contributing to our 2020 target of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to $30 billion,” said Ms Stuckey.
Ms Phillips will visit Australia and attend the Magic Millions Carnival and Raceday on Saturday 12 January 2013 on the Gold Coast, Queensland, where the world’s first women’s-only incentive - Magic Millions Racing Women (MMRW) 2YO Classic - will be run. The race offers a prize money incentive of $500,000, which will be distributed between the top four ‘all female owned or leased’ horses in finishing order.
Desleigh Forster enjoyed the greatest moment of her seven-year racing career when spring discovery Adebisi claimed the Group Three George Moore Stakes at Doomben.
Adebisi ($18) led all the way to hold off a determined challenge from Sydney visitor Latin News ($6.50) for a half-length win in Saturday's 1200m feature, the first leg of the Doomben summer series.
Spirit Of Boom ($16) ran his best race this campaign, finishing a further two lengths away third.
Forster, who learnt her trade as a foreman for Melbourne's Peter Moody, fought back her emotions after Adebisi once again defied his critics.
"Don't ever underestimate this bloke," Forster said.
"I don't like being rude but he's come back a better horse - two stone lighter."
Forster was referring to her decision to have Adebisi gelded following his last campaign.
The four-year-old son of Shovhog is now unbeaten in two starts since undergoing the surgery.
Forster took great comfort from Adebisi's win which took his record to six wins from 21 starts.
"Most people don't think he can run this trip but he's run fifth in a Group One over 1600 metres," she said.
"People keep underestimating him. He's not a naughty boy but I've wanted to cut him since he was a two-year-old and we finally decided to it after his last campaign."
Forster will let the dust settle following the excitement of landing her first Group winner before deciding on Adebisi's future.
"I think he can eventually run 1600 metres but we won't be looking at the Bernborough Handicap later this month," she said.
"I'd like to run him in the Goldmarket Handicap but there's also the (Listed) Lough Neagh Stakes in two weeks.
"I've won a few Listed races before but it's a good feeling to finally win a Group Three.
"He's had a lot of knockers before and hasn't deserved it."
The Listed Goldmarket Hcp (1300m) will be run at the Gold Coast on January 2.
Jockey Glen Colless thought Latin News was set to win shortly after straightening.
"I thought after we straightened for home he was going to win for sure but the winner found a kick," he said.
Trainer Tony Gollan was upbeat following the performance from Spirit Of Boom.
"That was a much better run and I liked the way he hit the line," Gollan said.
"I'm not sure about New Zealand as our immediate aim is whether to step him up to 1350 metres next start."
Spirit of Boom has been nominated for the Group One Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie in New Zealand next month.
The strength of an interstate challenge on an Eagle Farm black type race for fillies and mares on Saturday will depend on the handicapper.
Five NSW-trained horses, spearheaded by the Chris Waller-trained Dystopia, added depth to the nominations for the Listed Travel Associates Classic but it is unlikely they will all make the trip north.
Dystopia is one of four mares who have also been nominated for Saturday's Festival Stakes meeting at Rosehill.
Dystopia was given her chance during the Melbourne Cup carnival and she been freshened up since an excellent fourth to Ortensia over 1100m at Flemington on VRC Oaks day.
An $800,000 yearling sale purchase, Dystopia has won three races but she is yet to post a victory at stakes level - a sought-after milestone because of its importance in the breeding world.
But it remained to be seen on Monday if Dystopia would be given an opportunity for a black type breakthrough in Brisbane this week.
"We probably won't have a clear indication (on where Dsytopia races this weekend) until after we have a look at the weights," Waller's racing manager Liam Prior said.
The Kris Lees-trained Cheap Thrills, Gerald Ryan's promising Mrs Onassis and the Gosford mare My Cookie Monster have also been cross-nominated between the Classic and races in Sydney.
Redhandedjill, from stable of leading country trainer Sue Grills, completes the NSW entry.
There were 19 nominations for the $80,000 race with quality Brisbane mare Zero Rock entered to resume.
The Stradbroke Handicap placegetter will be first-up since her sixth in the Group Tattersall's Tiara at the end of the Brisbane winter carnival.
Zero Rock will be going for back-to-back wins in the race.
Fifteen entries were received for the Listed Recognition Stakes with last year's winner Pepperwood among the nominations.
Other Recognition entries include last-start Brisbane Handicap winner Fillydelphia.
Country filly Charm's Honour will be given a chance to add to her black type record in preference to a Sydney return this week.
Scone trainer Greg Bennett confirmed the $100,000 Listed Mode Plate (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday for the three-year-old.
"I could have taken her to Sydney again this week but she would have got too much weight," Bennett said.
"It's a nice little set weights race in Brisbane worth a bit of coin and there's the black type as well.
"She's already got some black type with her Keith Mackay placing but obviously a bit more won't hurt."
Charm's Honour won two bush two-year-old races before confirming her promise when runner-up to subsequent Group One winner Streama in the Listed Keith Mackay at Randwick during this year's autumn carnival.
"The Keith Mackay run wasn't a fluke," Bennett said.
"It took Streama the length of the straight to run her down."
Brisbane jockey Ric McMahon has been booked for the Charm's Honour mount.
"I had about eight Brisbane jockeys ring up for the ride," Bennett said.
"The form is a bit foreign to me but the fact so many jockeys were chasing the ride is a good sign."
Charm's Honour will be one of the favourites after finishing on the wrong end of a three-way photo at Canterbury.
"She might have won except I think a little bit of interference beat her on the day," Bennett said.
The Mode Plate will be the main support event to the $200,000 George Moore Stakes.
A Group Three event, the race named in honour of one of Australia's greatest jockeys, has attracted 20 entries.
Interstate nominations include the Sydney sprinters Rarefied and Latin News.
Rarefied is a last start Group One placegetter after finishing second to Ortensia in the Winterbotton Stakes at Ascot.
Latin News has also been entered for a welter at Rosehill after dead-heating for second behind Atomic Force at Canterbury when having his first start for Rosehill trainer David Payne.
If exciting colt Sizzling is half as tough as his trainer Kelso Wood, he's going to be hard to beat in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast in January.
Wood was back at work last week preparing his team for the upcoming Doomben Summer Series and the Magic Millions only a few days after undergoing heart bypass surgery.
The trainer went to his doctor for a check-up earlier this month and was found to have blocked arteries.
"It was a fluke the doctor found anything," Wood said.
"I didn't have any symptoms but the doc found a bit of a murmur and looked into it further.
"He found one of the arteries was 100 per cent blocked and another was 90 per cent closed.
"It was a heart attack waiting to happen and I had bypass surgery."
Wood admitted he wasn't the best patient in hospital and was glad to be discharged.
"The nurses were excellent while I was in intensive care but I'm not a good patient," he said.
"I couldn't sleep and wouldn't eat."
Wood believes Sizzling is in much better condition than himself ahead of the colt's Magic Millions assignment on January 14.
"He's coming along well and is pretty good. I wish I was as good as him," Wood said.
Wood believes Sizzling could be the best two-year-old he has trained after he set a class record of 57.4 seconds when he strolled home by six lengths over 1000 metres on debut at Eagle Farm on November 12.
A $260,000 yearling, Sizzling is raced by David Devine and Neville Morgan in partnership with AFL legend Leigh Matthews.
Wood has given Sizzling an easy time following his spectacular win and has pencilled in the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes (1000m) at Eagle Farm on December 17 and the Group Three B J Mclachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 31.
"I'll give him a barrier trial at Doomben next week then he'll have two runs before the Magic Millions," he said.
Jockey Chris Munce rates Sizzling favourably with 1994 Magic Millions winner Brave Warrior.
Munce is chasing his fourth Magic Millions following his successes on Sunblazer (1989), Excellerator (2001) and Dance Hero (2004).
He missed out on the Magic Millions victory on Brave Warrior after being involved in a fall in one of the feature's lead-up races and was replaced by the late Neil Williams.
Wood "won" a Magic Millions with his former star sprinter Prince Regent Wood only to lose the race on protest to Molokai Prince in 1988.
Trainer Liam Birchley is pinning his hopes on Zero Rock being vulnerable in her comeback at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Birchley's consistent four-year-old Liesele will take on the Kelso Wood-trained Zero Rock in the Listed Travel Associates Handicap (1200m) in which both mares fared well with barriers.
Liesele has drawn gate one while Zero Rock will jump from three.
Birchley has seen Zero Rock work several times in recent weeks and is suitably impressed with the six-year-old's condition.
Zero Rock is on the comeback trail after finishing sixth to Yosei in the Group One Tatt's Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June.
"She (Zero Rock) looks pretty good to me but I presume she's going to improve a lot further after this run," Birchley said.
"If we are to beat her, now is probably the best time to strike."
However, Birchley concedes Liesele's task will be difficult with Zero Rock to carry just 57.5kg under the set weights and penalties.
"It's a very competitive field and Zero Rock does look to be thrown in at the weights," he said.
Five NSW horses were entered for the Brisbane feature but only the Chris Waller-trained Dystopia was among the acceptors.
But she is more likely to run at Rosehill with Waller also wary of Zero Rock.
"I'm not sure. It's 50-50 at the moment but I'm starting to think it's doubtful she'll go up there," Waller said.
"I don't want to send her up just to run second or third to Zero Rock who is well weighted.
"Her form is excellent but she might be better off staying home."
Birchley was glad trainer Les Kelly decided not to accept with exciting filly Alltherightmoves along with the other potential interstate rivals including the Kris Lees-trained Cheap Thrills, Gerald Ryan's promising Mrs Onassis and the Gosford mare My Cookie Monster.
Liesele has been runner-up at her past three appearances.
She was beaten in a tight finish by Skating On Ice in a 1200m Class Six at Doomben on November 5 then beaten less than two lengths by Alltherightmoves over 1020m at Doomben a fortnight later.
"Alltherightmoves is very promising but I was pleased with Liesele's run behind her," Birchley said.
"She had the outside alley and was dropping back in distance which is very hard.
"It's doubly hard to win over 1000 metres at Doomben from a wide barrier.
"I thought she did a good job on a track which suited front runners."
Birchley couldn't fault Liesele's placing behind Skating On Ice who subsequently scored easily at Eagle Farm last week.
Toowoomba sprinter Listen Son earned a shot at the Doomben Summer Series with a thrilling victory in the Listed Keith Noud Quality at Eagle Farm.
Listen Son, who is called "Moose" around trainer Tony Gollan's stables, led all the way to win a bob-of-the-head finish by a nose over the Rob Heathcote-trained Excellantes in Saturday's 1200m feature.
Essington, who was having his first start since winning the Listed Ascot Handicap at Eagle Farm in July, was a further length away third.
"We call him Moose because he was a big hairy thing as a three-year-old," Gollan said.
Gollan had planned for Listen Son to travel off the speed in third place but jockey Scott Seamer summed up the situation perfectly and had no hesitation to lead after the five-year-old jumped in front from barrier one.
"Excellantes actually got a head in front of me about 100 metres out so I reverted back to hands and heels and he dug deep," Seamer said.
Listen Son finished sixth, less than four lengths from the winner Sincero in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm in June which enticed Gollan to take the son of Big Jesse to Melbourne in the spring.
However, Listen Son stunned Gollan when he finished last to Queenslander Woorim in the Group Three TAB.com.au Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 29.
"He was very disappointing in Melbourne and I still don't know why," Gollan said.
"Today was a big question mark for us. I came to the races and didn't know what to expect from him.
"He fights hard whenever he's in that type of situation and he'll go to the Summer Series races now."
The series begins with the Group Three George Moore Stakes (1200m) in a fortnight.
Gollan was initially disappointed with stablemate's Spirit Of Boom's effort to finish ninth, just over four lengths away but was reassured after talking with jockey Ric McMahon.
"I've spoke to Ric and he wasn't disappointed at all. He reckons he's run home the fastest last 400 metres better than anything else," Gollan said.
Spirit Of Boom is also headed to the George Moore Stakes and didn't harm his chances of heading across the Tasman for the Group One Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on January 1 and Group One Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham on January 21.
Heathcote was frustrated to see Excellantes go down in the tight finish.
He was forced to scratch stablemate Work The Room after the sprinter bowed a tendon in trackwork at Eagle Farm last Tuesday.
Work The Room's future is in grave doubt.
Trainer Brian Wakefield has an uncanny knack of picking his mark and hopes Nuptse can fulfil her black type potential in the Travel Associates Classic at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Nuptse has been freshened for the 1200m Listed feature after arriving home only six days ago following a successful Sydney trip with stablemate Pretty Composed.
The mare continued Wakefield's good Sydney strike-rate with a narrow win at Rosehill last month before finishing third at Randwick and fourth at Warwick Farm this month.
Wakefield, who also won with Nuptse at Warwick Farm in January, isn't frightened by the set weights and penalties conditions of the Classic which heavily favour Stradbroke Handicap placegetter, Zero Rock.
"I'm more concerned about getting a good barrier and I need to find a jockey to replace Nathan Berry who rode her in Sydney," Wakefield said.
Zero Rock was allotted topweight of 57.5kg while Nuptse is on the minimum with 53kg.
"Unfortunately Nuptse didn't have much luck with the barriers in Sydney and if she doesn't draw well tomorrow then I might save her for another race the following week," Wakefield said.
"It's a tough race but my mare is fit and well and if she draws well she'll be able to take up a good spot.
"I'd love to snare a Listed race with her now before she eventually goes to stud."
Nuptse is yet to win over 1200 metres, a factor which concerns Wakefield.
"She won well over 1100 metres at Rosehill but she drew the outside of a seven-horse field and was caught three wide when she finished third at Randwick over 1200 metres," he said.
"Last run she had barrier 11 over the 1000 metres and got a long way back and it was too hard for her to pick up the leader.
"She's still a 1200-metre maiden so I suppose that's a concern."
Wakefield hasn't ruled out starting Nuptse in the Magic Millions Sprint (1000m) at the Gold Coast in January before turning her out to prepare for the Brisbane winter carnival.
"I won't aim her for any of the major races but I'm sure she can measure up to some of the good second-tier races," he said.
"I took her to Sydney to get away from the hard tracks up here and I was going to send her to Melbourne for a Listed race on Oaks day after her Rosehill win.
"But we weren't sure if she'd get into the race at Flemington so we stayed in Sydney."
Underrated filly Hidden Jewel continues to surprise trainer Matt Dunn and could now be set for next year's Brisbane winter carnival following her easy win at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Hidden Jewel ($13), the second leg of a winning double for jockey Ryan Wiggins, powered home to beat Pretty Pins ($2.50 fav) by 1-3/4 lengths in the Grace Construction Products Handicap (1500m).
Epona Princess ($13) was a further half length away third.
Dunn conceded Hidden Jewel's recent form had surprised him.
"Up until she had her first start she hadn't shown a lot on the track," Dunn said.
"But I galloped her on Tuesday against an older horse and she worked sensationally."
Dunn was at a loss to explain the filly's sudden improvement but said he hoped it didn't stop.
Hidden Jewel finished third on debut on a heavy track at the Gold Coast in October before scoring easily in maiden company at Eagle Farm at her previous start on Melbourne Cup day.
"Another win this campaign will be a big boost for her ratings and then she can go for a spell before coming back for the winter," Dunn said.
"It would be nice to think she could run a Queensland Oaks trip and I'm sure she'll easily get 1600 metres.
"She's been running on very strongly at the end of her races so maybe she'll get 2400 metres."
Wiggins also felt Hidden Jewel had a big future and was capable of measuring up to the longer winter races next year.
"She's a real nice filly and I never had to pull the stick on her at any stage," Wiggins said.
"She needs to win another race this campaign to put her higher up the ratings for the winter and the Oaks would be a nice race for her.
"She let down like a really good horse and she's got a very big future and looks to be well above average."
Trainer Michael Nolan hopes an older and stronger Gold Rating can provide apprentice Brooke Richardson with her first metropolitan winner at Doomben.
However, Nolan concedes the six-year-old's task appears daunting after the grey received 62.5kg from the handicapper in Wednesday's Montrose Access Handicap (1200m).
"It's a very big weight but he's got to run as I want to step him up to 1600-metre races eventually," Nolan said.
"I've gone for Brooke because she can claim three kilos and there's not many three-kilo claimers around.
"Brooke rides some trackwork for me and I think she has a big future and can make it in Brisbane like Priscilla Schmidt has done.
"If she can win a few races in town she'll certainly kick a lot more goals."
Gold Rating will be attempting a hat-trick of wins when the six-year-old grey has his first start in almost six months.
The son of Canadian Silver has won seven times from 24 starts but has been successful only once first-up.
That was last campaign when Gold Rating won over 1100-metres on his home track at Toowoomba on June 4.
He then came out and scored an impressive victory on Ipswich Cup day.
"His first-up win here at Toowoomba last campaign was a real shock," Nolan said.
"I then took him to Ipswich and he won impressively again but we had to turn him out after that when he hurt a leg.
"I'm very happy with him now but he'll probably get back in this with his big weight.
"I'll be happy to see him running on strongly but it would be great if he could win for Brooke."
Richardson, 17, is apprenticed to her father, Toowoomba trainer Brendan Richardson, and only made her metropolitan riding debut at Eagle Farm last month.
She began her indentures with her grandfather Clem Pollard, another Toowoomba trainer, and recently completed a three-month loan period with Todd Austin at Barcaldine in central Queensland.
Richardson had only been licensed for 14 months and had ridden 65 winners on Queensland country tracks before she made her city debut in October.
Trainer Peter Balzen has no regrets about Dansonate missing the $2 million Magic Millions Classic despite the colt's impressive victory at Eagle Farm.
Dansonate ($10) hauled in early leader Auchenflower ($41) close to the line to score by 1-1/4 lengths with Congo ($21) a further three-quarters of a length away third in Saturday's Channel Seven Handicap (1000m).
The lucrative odds belied Dansonate's recent solid performances.
Dansonate was runner-up, albeit it six lengths from top Magic Millions Classic hope Sizzling at Eagle Farm on November 12.
At his previous three runs, Dansonate earned prize money behind city winners Noogoora Burr, Snipzu and Top Rada.
Dansonate cost $12,000 at the Magic Millions sales and was not paid up for the 1200m Gold Coast feature on January 14.
"The owners got him for only $12,000 but he's not in the Magic Millions," Balzen said.
While Balzen would have loved to saddle up a Magic Millions runner, he's not concerned about Dansonate missing the 1200m feature.
"He's done a good job already as this is the first time he's been in work," Balzen said.
"He came straight into work after being broken in.
"His sire, Snippetson, has done a good job and is second on the sires' list."
Balzen will recommend to Dansonate's owners to spell the youngster immediately.
"There's a 1200 metre race coming up in two weeks but I'd rather spell him immediately," he said.
"You can't be greedy."
Balzen said Dansonate was the first city winner from his dam Quickstep Lady whose three previous foals had been winners at provincial meetings.
Winning jockey Ryan Wiggins conceded he had a few concerns at the top of the straight when Auchenflower booted well clear.
"I wasn't too confident of catching the leader when he darted clear," Wiggins said.
"Auchenflower only had 50 kilos and my bloke had an extra six kilos to carry.
"He's a nice horse and has a bit of a future."
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