An all-the-way win in the $1 million Memsie Stakes at Caulfield has confirmed former Perth sprinter Vega Magic’s emergence as a star of the Australian turf.
Vega Magic was sent out the $2.25 favourite in Saturday’s first Australian Group One race of the season and jockey Craig Williams took the race by the scruff of the neck by sending the gelding forward to lead.
Vega Magic controlled the race, kicked strongly around the home turn and his star-studded rivals, which included eight Group One winners, couldn’t get close in the run to the post.
Black Heart Bart ($6) was 1-3/4 lengths away in second with Japanese import Tosen Stardom ($15) finishing along the rail for third, another short-half head away.
Co-trainer David Hayes said Vega Magic had star qualities and defied the day’s pattern.
“I was very worried with the way the wind was going today and no horses were leading and winning,” Hayes said.
“But he dominated that race.
“He’s got special qualities.”
Charmed Harmony, a noted on-pacer, was scratched by his trainer John Sadler early in the day because of a track upgrade.
Vega Magic won nine of his 14 starts when trained in the west and was transferred to the Lindsay Park team of trainers David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig in Victoria earlier this year.
He has won all three starts for his new stable including the Group One Goodwood in May and also the Memsie.
His spring path could include a crack at the $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick next month.
Vega Magic has firmed from $11 to $8 on the third line of betting, but is not yet confirmed for a slot in the subscription-only race.
“Either way, wherever he goes, he’ll be very competitive,” Hayes said.
“It’s $10 million up there.
“He would be a logical horse for the Rupert Clarke Stakes, maybe, or the Everest. And I’m thinking The Everest.”
Black Heart Bart was striving to become the first horse since Sunline in 2001 to win back-to-back Memsies but had to settle for second.
“It was a sensational run,” his jockey Brad Rawiller said.
“We had a good run throughout but at the end of the day Vega Magic had a it too easy in front.”