Military Rose fulfilled Gold Coast trainer Gillian Heinrich’s dream of winning the Magic Millions Classic with a dominant performance in the $2 million race on Saturday.
The daughter of General Nediym, who cost $155,000 when bought by Heinrich’s husband, Hoss, as a yearling, streaked home by 3Â¾ lengths from Sydney filly Ambers Waltz with Brisbane filly Demanding Miss was a neck away third.
Military Rose, now unbeaten in four starts, and the winner of more than $1.3 million, provided the first hometown victory since Snippets won the inaugural running of the race in 1987.
Heinrich, who was showing signs of nerves prior to the race, rated the victory as the best of her career, as did winning jockey Stathi Katsidis.
“This is sensational,” Heinrich said.
“Just to get a horse in the race is fantastic, but to win it is unbelievable.
“When she was still in front 200 metres out, I really started to get excited.”
Heinrich, a trainer for almost 20 years, declared before the race that she wanted to win the Magic Millions Classic more than a Group I race.
“I’ve never won a Group I, and Group IIs have been the best wins for me, but a Magic Millions is the race I’ve always wanted to win,” she said.
“I’ve had that many texts from people supporting me, it’s been fantastic.
“It’s hard to get a horse into this race.
“Normally trainers have to battle with shin-soreness with their two-year-olds, but she’s kept whacking up for the last four starts.”
The victory also marked a triumph for 1997 Magic Millions Classic winner General Nediym, the only winner of the race to have sired a Magic Millions Classic winner – 2003 winner Regimental Gal.
Heinrich plans to give Military Rose a break before aiming her at the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens in April.
“She’s in the race and so long as she pulls up well she’ll be going down,” Heinrich said.
Only two Magic Million Classic winners, Dance Hero in 2004 and Phelan Ready last year, have gone on to claim the Golden Slipper.
No filly has accomplished the feat.
Katsidis showed why he is leading the national jockeys’ premiership since making his riding comeback in July 2009.
“I’ve ridden about 87 winners this season and I rate this win as one of the best,” Katsidis said.
“I won a few races on Calaway Gal before she won the Golden Slipper, and I’ve rated her as one of the best, but this filly is up there with her.”
John O’Shea, the trainer of Ambers Waltz, offered no excuses for the runner-up, who was well back on the home turn.
“She beat everything bar the winner and it was a great effort,” O’Shea said.
Ambers Waltz’s rider, Corey Brown, was confident of winning on the home turn, and he was surprised the winner was able to produce sustained speed.
“Everything went perfect but I thought the winner had to come back to us, but she kept going,” Brown said.