Trainer Gai Waterhouse is testing the Magic Millions claims of Shihonka and Snitzonfire at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Gai Waterhouse, the most successful trainer in Magic Millions history, will add promising three-year-olds Shihonka and Snitzonfire to her stable’s team for the rich Gold Coast carnival if they race up to expectations at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Talented filly Shihonka is a dominant favourite at $2.30 with TAB Fixed Odds to beat her older rivals in the Cabra-vale Diggers Handicap (1350m.
Snitzonfire protects his perfect race record and is also at the top of betting at $3.90 for the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Sprint (1200m).
Both Shihonka and Snitzonfire are on target for the $2 million Magic Millions 3yo Guineas (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 15.
Waterhouse has already won the Magic Millions Guineas on a record three occasions with Sweet Idea (2014), Biaggio (2003) and Ha Ha (2002).
This complements the Hall of Fame trainer’s record four wins in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic with Driefontein (2012), Dance Hero (2004), Excellerator (2001) and Assertive Lad (2000).
Waterhouse trains in partnership with Adrian Bott these days and they are assembling a formidable squad for the Magic Millions carnival next month.
Shihonka bounced back from a disappointing run in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes at Caulfield during the spring to score a strong win at the Rosehill midweeks where she carried 59kg. She drops 4.5kg for Saturday’s race as she aims for her third win from just six starts.
“She did a good job to win the other day,” Waterhouse said.
“I think sending her to Melbourne might have come around a bit too quick for her but she has returned with a vengeance.”
Snitzonfire has won each of his three races in an impressive debut preparation that began with a Nowra maiden win back in September.
“We have a lot of time for Snitzonfire, he’s a lovely individual, a very progressive type,” Waterhouse said.
“He started off his career winning at Nowra, which is a bit like (2020 Golden Slipper winner) Farnan who won at Canberra at his first start.
“It might seem a bit unusual but the old saying ‘small fish are sweet’ has certainly been the case with this horse.
“By winning at Nowra, it got Snitzonfire off to a winning stat to his race career and it’s about building confidence, he has learned how to win.”
Waterhouse and Bott also have promising Silent Impact, winner of two of his three starts, being aimed at the Magic Millions Guineas. He looked very sharp in an impressive Canterbury barrier trial win earlier this week.
“Silent Impact is a very talented three-year-old who we want to set for the Guineas,” Waterhouse said.
“We will see how Shihonka and Snitzonfire go at Rosehill and the work out where they race next and what we do with Silent Impact.
“There is the Wyong Magic Millions race (December 15), the Gosford Guineas and a nice race on Boxing Day so we have options for them.”
Waterhouse and Bott also had Magic Millions 2YO Classic hopefuls Uncorked and Pantonario clash at the Canterbury trials last Tuesday with the former winning narrowly.
Uncorked was narrowly beaten on debut by Russian Conquest in the Max Lees Classic at Newcastle’s The Hunter meeting last month while Pantonario’s only start was a third to brilliant filly Coolangatta in the Gimcrack Stakes back in October.
“I think Uncorked is untapped,” Waterhouse said. “She has the makings of a very good filly. She’s tough, pins her ears back and gives everything she’s got..
“At this stage, Uncorked will race next at Randwick on the 18th and then head towards the Magic Millions.
“Pantonario is a beautifully filly who ran very well on debut. We are still finalising plans for her but I think we saw in the Gimcrack that the horse to beat in the Magic Millions is Coolangatta.”
The Waterhouse and Bott-trained Too Much Caviar, the $3.90 favourite for the Dooleys Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens, could also be on the Magic Millions trail.
The four-year-old gelding by All Too Hard started favourite when third to Born A King and Francesco Guardi in a strong form race at Rosehill last start.
Meanwhile, Waterhouse gave an update on Group 1 winners In The Congo (Golden Rose) and Never Been Kissed (Flight Stakes) ahead of their Sydney autumn carnival campaigns.
In The Congo is still out spelling after finishing unplaced in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington during the Cup Carnival while Never Been Kissed is back in light work.
“I don’t think In The Congo is far away from returning to training then Adrian and Henry (Field of Newgate Farm) will sit down and work out where the colt will go in the autumn.
“He’s a very exciting colt and where ever he goes he will be very hard to beat.
“Never Been Kissed is being aimed at the Surround Stakes and the Coolmore Classic and then all the fillies races.
“These good horses can’t spend too long out because autumn will be here before we know it. As Dad (Tommy Smith) used to say ‘they have the rest of their lives to live in the paddock’.”
Originally published as Tulloch Lodge three-year-olds are ready to fire and book a Queensland sojourn