Boom apprentice Luke Tarrant’s dream summer continued when he steered Le Chef to victory in the Magic Millions Classic on Saturday.
Le Chef, backed from $26 to $16, held on in the straight to score by three quarters of a length from Pepperano ($31) with the same margin to Single Gaze ($8.50) in third.
The gelding cost Mt Isa owner Lenore Saunders $120,000 at the Magic Millions sale last year.
His Gold Coast earned him $1.1 million first prize and an extra $300,000 for Saunders as part of a bonus restricted to female owners.
Tarrant has had a wonderful season and is fourth on the Australian jockeys’ premiership and a clear 13 wins in front on the Brisbane metropolitan table.
However, it has been Tarrant’s cool head in major races which has impressed.
He won the Group Two Villiers Stakes at Randwick last month on Rudy at his first feature ride in Sydney.
“All of my dreams have come true. Things have gone so well for me in the past few months,” Tarrant said.
“I said during the week we just needed a dry track to be right in it.”
Le Chef only got into the Magic Millions field last week when he won at the Gold Coast and he gave Darryl Hansen his biggest win in 20 years as a trainer.
Hansen has had run-ins with officialdom but now has his team firing.
“It has taken a while to get back to a full team but things are going very well now,” he said.
Saunders was close to tears after the biggest win for her family who have raced horses throughout Queensland for many years.
“It is a dream come true. We race horses all over north Queensland and in the south. To win a race like this leaves me almost speechless,” she said.
Trainer Liam Birchley had to again be content with another heartbreaking loss after Pepperano became his fourth minor placegetter in the past four years.
Jockey Damian Browne said Pepperano’s wide barrier had been the major reason for her defeat.
“Barriers win races and this was another case,” said Browne.
There was no fairy tale for jockey Chris Munce who finished sixth on the favourite Wicked Intent ($4.40).
“He will make a very nice horse later on,” said Munce who retired as a jockey at the end of the meeting on Saturday.