Magic Millions winner Driefontein takes the first major step towards a return to the Gold Coast when she steps out in a barrier trial on Monday.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained filly, who won this year’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on protest from stablemate No Looking Back, will go around in an 800m heat at Randwick.
The $1 million Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) in January is the likely summer target for Driefontein who was sent back to the paddock after only one start this season when second – splitting Snitzerland and All Too Hard – in the San Domenico Stakes in August.
Tommy Berry, who has partnered the filly throughout her career, is excited to have her back preparing for a race return.
“She’s definitely my favourite horse in at the moment,” Berry said.
“She’s come back very strong. I think the best thing that could have happened to her was getting tipped out after her first run.
“She’s a lot more switched on this preparation. She’s a proper racehorse and you can just feel when you gallop her now that we haven’t found the bottom to her yet.
“She hasn’t done a heap of work so far so I don’t think she’ll be having a hard trial on Monday.”
While it was a blow for Berry that Driefontein didn’t play a role in the spring carnival, he hopes to make up for it during the summer.
“It was disappointing at the time because we had big plans for her,” he said.
“She just lightened off a bit quick and her coat wasn’t 100 per cent after her first-up run. Gai said she was going to be running in top company so she had to be as good as we could get her.”
Driefontein races in the purple and white stars of Star Thoroughbreds.
Another prominent Star Thoroughbreds galloper, two-year-old colt Whittington, returned to work at Waterhouse’s stables on Friday while recent four-length trial-winning filly Certitude will make her debut at Rosehill on Saturday.
Whittington was an impressive winner of the Breeders’ Plate last month on debut and is being aimed at the Golden Slipper.
His program could also take in the Magic Millions Classic.
“I’m putting him on that track but I’ll make up my mind in the next few weeks,” Waterhouse said of the Magic Millions.
“He looks great.”