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Mark Zahra has held Madeenaty in high regard since before her debut

Mark Zahra has held Madeenaty in high regard since before her debut and the jockey remains confident the one-time Magic Millions favourite can deliver in the $2 million race.

Madeenaty has made the running in her three starts including her latest when she crossed from the outside to lead and hold on for a narrow win in the Wyong Magic Millions (1100m) last month.

And while Zahra expects to settle somewhere in the first four from Madeenaty’s inside draw in Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast, he says the filly doesn’t have to lead.

He believes having something to chase would be ideal with a couple of well-credentialled runners drawn wide.

Madeenaty will also wear winkers, something Zahra expects will give her added focus after ishe mpressed him in a recent work-out with the added gear.

While he would have preferred barrier four or five, Zahra is happy to be in gate one rather than wide.

“I think she’s drawn well and I don’t think we’ll lead,” Zahra said.

“They’re going to have to come across. Gai’s horse (Invincible Star), and Houtzen is going to have to go forward too.

“We’re going to be first four and the winkers are just going to help give us a bit of focus, and her work with one to chase was as good as you get the other morning.

“I think you go out there thinking you’re going to be in the first four and if she lobs in front, she lobs in front. But it would be great if Gai’s horse just has to burn (across).

“I’d love to just have a little bunny to follow I reckon, but I’m definitely not going to be strangling her either to give it up if I can lob there easy.”

Madeenaty put the form on the board early with her win in the Maribyrnong Trial at Flemington on October 2 followed by her third in the Ottawa Stakes on November1 before her Wyong win.

She has lost Magic Millions favouritism with the emergence of From Within and Houtzen in recent weeks, and is now on the fourth line of betting.

Zahra isn’t fazed.

“There’s been a couple of impressive ones, there’s no doubt about that, but I still think she’s got a great chance,” he said.

He said people might have looked at Madeenaty’s Wyong performance and said there wasn’t much left in the tank after her first right-handed start.

“But she was a Victorian horse going to Wyong for the first time, she had the outside gate and got driven the whole way to take up the lead,” he said.

“Her work the other day was sensational, so I’m definitely not shying away.”

The filly is trained by the Lindsay Park family team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig.

 
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