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Steve O’Dea’s decision to chase better quality yearlings has given him a genuine chance to win the Magic Millions Classic.

The trainer’s first starter Candika ($11) showcased her credentials for next year’s two-year-old feature when she came from near-last to beat Rainy Day Woman ($9) by a long neck in Saturday’s TH Cock Electrical & Communications Hcp (1050m) at Doomben.

The daughter of Sebring cost $100,000 as a yearling and had trialled solidly leading into her debut.

“Before the sales I spoke with Candika’s owners, the Proven Thoroughbreds group, and we decided to buy better quality horses,” O’Dea said.

“She was the first one we bought.

“She gives the impression the 1200 metres of the Millions will suit and we can now map out a campaign leading up to the Millions on January 9.”

O’Dea has had considerable success for Proven Thoroughbreds, which is headed by Jamie Walter, most notably with multiple stakes winner Sir Moments.

Robbie Fradd picked up the winning mount on Candika from Paul Hammersley who was unable to fulfil his rides at Doomben after a trackwork fall on Saturday morning.

Well-travelled gelding Blue Lion ($5) scored his first win in open company when he got the better of Teronado in Saturday’s Mount Alvernia College Hcp (1615m).

Originally sold for $250,000 at the New Zealand sales and raced in NSW and Victoria, Blue Lion won a Seymour maiden before being sent to Singapore where he won three races.

The seven-year-old found his way to the stable of Paul Duncan at the Sunshine Coast earlier this year and his Doomben win was his second in succession.

“He is typical of the Zabeel breed and you need patience as they get better with age,” Duncan said.

“He didn’t come up last campaign and developed a splint so we took our time.

“I will aim him for some of the 1600 metre feature races such as the Recognition Stakes and Bernborough Hcp.”

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