Trainer Matt Dunn is hoping he made the right decision to skip a Sydney start and keep his promising colt Verbal Assault for the Gold Coast.
Verbal Assault will get one chance to qualify for the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic but Dunn is confident he is up to it.
The colt is one of 10 runners in the $125,000 Gold Nugget (1100m) where he will start from a wide barrier.
The Gold Coast two-year-old race the week before has become the main form line to win the Magic Millions.
Le Chef (2015), Houtzen (2017), Sunlight (2018) and Exhilirates (2019) all won the Gold Coast race before going on to win the Magic Millions Classic.
In fact, five of the past seven Millions winners have started the week before because Real Surreal (2013) won at Eagle Farm seven days earlier.
In recognition of the trend there has been a big prize money boost with the race split into fillies (Gold Pearl) and colts and geldings (Gold Nugget).
Dunn already has one of the main chances in the Magic Millions Classic in Lady Banff but has a good opinion of Verbal Assault.
He and his bloodstock agent Neil Jenkinson went to $130,00 to get Verbal Assault at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales.
They liked the colt’s bloodlines because he is by boom young sire Deep Field and is out of a half-sister to smart sprinter Danabaa.
Verbal Assault is $101 in most betting markets as he is well down the list of Millions qualifiers with $16,825.
However, he will shorten dramatically should he win on Saturday and bound into the field.
Dunn has taken his time with Verbal Assault who was never extended to win his only start over 1000m at Murwillumbah by five lengths.
“He is a nice colt and he is starting to learn what it is all about. Verbal Assault has got better with time and he did trial well leading into his first race,” Dunn said.
Dunn is wondering if he should have taken another path to the Magic Millions via a Sydney last week.
“As it turned out there were only four runners and they went across the line covering about 1-1/2 lengths,” Dunn said.
“The winner (Nitrous) qualified for the Millions. It might have been a race we could have won.
“But what is done is done. If he doesn’t make the Millions I will freshen him up for the autumn.”
Dunn is again having a great season and already has 58 winners this season.
He has a good record at the Magic Millions carnival with Care To Think (Millions Cup) and Madotti (Millions QTIS) winning big races.
But he would love to win the Classic where his best effort to date was Madotti’s fourth in 2016.