Begg weaves some Magic in final G1 of Melbourne spring

Perseverance has paid off for trainer Grahame Begg who captured the final Group 1 race of the Melbourne Spring Carnival with Magic Time.

Begg was looking forward to the Spring Carnival but had his Caulfield Cup hope Nonconformist withdrawn on the eve of the race while his Melbourne Cup Lunar Flare went amiss 10 days before the big race at Flemington.

Saturday’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield was not originally on the radar for Magic Time, but Begg made the call to switch the filly back from Sydney with a pleasing result.

“It’s been challenging to say the least. This is great,” Begg said.

Sent out the $4.80 bookies favourite under Michael Dee, Magic Time scored by a length from I Am Me ($6.50) with Strait Acer ($12) a neck away third.

Magic Time was lining up for her eighth start on Saturday with the majority of her runs being in Sydney.

Begg had the mare aimed at The Invitation at Randwick last month, in which she finished third, and was planning a start in the Hot Danish Stakes at Rosehill last Saturday.

“But I thought I’d bring her back, run her in the handicap with 53 (kilos) on her back,” Begg said.

“I thought it was a great race for her. 1400 metres, good speed on, it was the right recipe for her, and she’s got the job done.”

Begg admitted to concerns prior to the race with racing at Caulfield on Saturday favouring horses racing near the lead and near the fence.

But Begg told Dee to not change plans aboard the mare.

“I said to Michael to be positive out of the gates, but get cover, don’t work up the hill and give her the opportunity to round her race off and she certainly did that,” Begg said.

Dee said the race did not pan out at all well after jumping from a wide gate.

He said he was caught three wide in the race and then pushed even wider on the hometurn.

“I thought for a stage I would be able to slot in with cover, but I couldn’t,” Dee said.

“All that I could do then was keep her comfortable and in a nice rhythm and keep her as comfortable as possible, get around the bend before I asked her for the ultimate question.

“She just absolutely took off.

“Credit to Grahame and his team for getting her here.

“I’m sure Grahame mentioned it’s been a bit of an unlucky spring for him, so to get a Group 1 and to top it off, it’s amazing and Grahame has given me a lot of support for a long time now.”

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