Mornington trainer Jason Petch believes Claro El Banco may be vulnerable in Thursday’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic at Wyong – but is tracking ideally towards the $2 million MM Classic on the Gold Coast in January.
The son of Statue Of Liberty (out of Magic By Gosh, by Magic Albert) failed to fire on debut, finishing last in the Listed Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on October 4, but couldn’t have been more impressive at his next start, winning the Magic Millions Clockwise Classic (1000m) at Ballarat on November 21.
Petch is confident Claro El Banco, a $30 chance with CrownBet, will run well in Thursday’s $200,000 feature over 1100m, but concedes the race is a stepping stone to his Gold Coast grand final.
“I backed off him a bit after his win at Ballarat,” he said. “He’s a touch heavier, but he’s still fit.
“This is a nice race for him. With the big one on the Gold Coast three weeks away, the timing is ideal and I’m keen to get him out to 1100m.
“I’m thinking he’ll be around the mark on Thursday, but he may be susceptible. I’d be rapt if he was around the mark.”
Petch insists Claro El Banco’s Flemington flop was an aberration, claiming the horse didn’t have things go his way.
“His failure at his first start was a total forgive run,” he added. “He got lost in behind them. He doesn’t appreciate racing like that. He likes to run on fear and roll along.”
With Craig Newitt in the saddle, the gelding was driven out of the gates at Ballarat and defied a betting drift ($13 to $15) to score a decisive barrier to box victory.
“That’s the way he needs to be ridden,” said Petch. “Froggy (Newitt) was positive on him and he appreciated it.
“He eased up on him at the end with a view to having something left in the tank come Magic Millions day on the Gold Coast.”
Unsurprisingly, Petch rates Thursday’s $1.40 favourite Capitalist as the one to beat, saying: “He’s the Golden Slipper favourite and he looks the goods.”
Claro El Banco has drawn gate six at Wyong, with Newitt again taking the ride.
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