Could the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young trained Cusack be the horse who has slipped under the punters guard for the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic?
The chances of the chestnut colt have almost been devoid of all publicity and he currently sits on the $29 mark in the betting seemingly attracting little action.
Sure, when you have a horse going around like Coolangatta with his almost invincible-like reputation, it is very easy to inadvertently overlook the claims of some of the other runners in the field because of Coolangatta’s expected dominance … but we are talking two-year-olds here, an age group where some improve overnight and others can hit a flat spot when you thought they were flying … meaning that every runner in a two-year-old feature should be worth a second glance.
Particularly a runner like Cusack.
The son of not A Single Doubt won on debut, taking out the Magic Millions Ballarat Two-Year-Old Classic over 1000m at a starting price of $10. That win, all the way back on November 20, and its $137 500 essentially gave Cusack instant qualification into today’s $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic at the Gold Coast.
The connections no longer had to stress how they were going to make the big race line-up
And that is arguably one of the reasons why Cusack has fallen off the radar, as the focus of attention in the weeks immediately leading up to the big race has either been on those still jostling to earn a place in the final line-up or firmly entranced by the aura that Coolangatta has brought to proceedings.
Another possible reason for the early discard of Cusack, according to some ‘experts.’ is that the Magic Millions Ballarat Two-Year-Old Classic form has not been a good pointer to the Gold Coast race in the past … and that Cusack only just managed to win it … and that none of the horses he beat there had gone on to show to any great advantage.
Co-trainer Natalie Young is not at all worried by any of the points in that discussion and she was happy to put from fresh light on Cusack’s chances from her perspective.
“He’s only had that one start at Ballarat and he had to do quite a lot of work from that wide gate … so it was quite a tough win,” said Young.
“Even though he has only had that one start we’ve had him up early here so that he could acclimatise. He’s had two jump outs here at the Gold Coast and he got around the tight track. He’s won both of those.
“We were going to head to the race at Doomben (as a lead-up run), but the track was heavy that day. Also, he kicked out in his box and bruised his joint a little bit. He just had a little cut there.
“We got that right. We trialled him up. He won that jump-out. So, yeah, Doomben was the initial plan, but he’s had two jump-outs which is like having another race anyway.
“Two-year-olds … you know, you don’t need to have too much ground-work underneath them. They are only going to run over 1200m … and they are probably a bit better fresh.
“Obviously, Coolangatta and Russian Conquest are going to be hard to beat … but we have been up here, he is acclimatised and he has conditioned on nicely from that first-up run at Ballarat, where he was probably a little bit fat.
“We are going to jump from a nice barrier, and we won’t have to work quite so much early. He has got very good, natural gate speed so he should be able to jump and put himself there without exerting himself too much … and he’s got Craig Newitt, who rode him at Ballarat, in the saddle so he has got a jockey that knows him.
“Also, he’s running for the Ladies Bonus*. It is a nice initiative when you are chasing that sort of money. I think there are only three in the race that qualify for it so the owners will get part of that prize regardless of where we finish.
“So, overall, I’m happy. He strips a lot fitter now. He hasn’t done anything wrong. He is bouncing around and I’m sure he is going to give all of the ladies a thrill tomorrow.”
*The Racing Women’s Bonus of $500,000 is on offer to the first four all-female owned or leased horses in finishing order in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic/ It is in addition to race prizemoney of $2,000,000.
The Bonus Distribution is:
1st – $325,000 (65%) plus $3,000 trophy
2nd – $100,000 (20%)
3rd – $50,000 (10%)
4th – $25,000 (5%)