Ranch Hand could whip up a storm for the Chris Waller stable at the Magic Millions.
The gun trainer has three runners in the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic with Ranch Hand only getting a late call-up to complete the Waller trio in the field when Fake Love was scratched after failing to overcome lameness in good time. Ranch Hand had been the race’s first emergency.
And therein lies a tale of moving parts which could be set to play a significant role in the eventual outcome of the race.
Fake Love goes out. Glen Boss, who arguably might have kept the ride on last week’s runaway winner Swift Witness had he not already confirmed the Fake Love booking, was momentarily left without a ride.
Ranch Hand comes in. Boss is kicking his heels on the sidelines and is an obvious ‘big race’ fit for Ranch Hand. The arrangement is made … with Waller clearly getting as good a jockey as any rider in the field and Boss picking up a ride for the country’s top stable.
Does it sound like the stars are aligning to you?
Ranch Hand has entered the final field race betting boards on the fourth line at $11.
Of course, the betting market for the race has been controlled by the other two Waller trained horses for some time now.
First it was Shaquero who topped the boards on the back of his Group 3, Breeder’s Plate win at Randwick back on October 3 … but then the colt misfired badly in the Group 3 Brice McLachlan when resuming on December 26.
She’s All Class did it the other way around. The I Am Invincible filly was beaten into third place on debut before winning the Wyong Magic Millions with great aplomb on December 16. That performance and Shaquero’s subsequent lack lustre defeat meant that Shaquero went south in the betting and She’s All Class rushed to the top of the betting.
Shaquero redeemed himself to a large degree last week when fighting the very smart winner Finance Tycoon all the way to the line while She’s All Class has not raced since her Wyong triumph.
There is nothing to knock about that … and Waller will certainly know what is best for the horse … but, equally, there has been no further outing to be able to get a second opinion on a first impression.
Which brings us back to Ranch Hand.
A Maiden winner by a comfortable 3.30 lengths on debut was followed by a run, like that disappointment of Shaquero, where Ranch Hand finished as a beaten favourite at very short odds.
He did so much wrong in that race however, that, if some lessons were learnt there … and, remember, two-year-olds can come on in leaps and bounds from one run to the next … it means that, while Ranch Hand might have had to play second fiddle to his two stable companions in the build-up to the race, he could well give as good as he gets with the gates slam open.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Waller and Boss have proved to be a lethal combination.
Do you remember … Yes Yes Yes.