Gold Coast trainer Peter Balzen is dreaming about his biggest victory on his home course after underrated filly Punch On scored a decisive win in the $150,000 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben on Saturday.
Balzen has called the Gold Coast home for well over 10 years after previous stints training at Doomben and Rosehill and his biggest home track success thus far was Break The Ice’s win in a $100,000 restricted race in 2010.
But Balzen rates Punch On a far superior galloper to Break The Ice and is confident the Tiger Hill filly can provide him with a dream victory in the $1 million Magic Millions Guineas (1400m) on January 14.
“That win came as no surprise to me, although it did surprise me that she still managed to win after the run she had,” he said.
“She’s a very nice filly and she’s never run a bad race. I’m really looking forward to Magic Millions day now.
“She should have won her only start at the Gold Coast and I rate her one of the best fillies in Queensland.”
While Balzen and his long-term owners Tom Ware and Jeff Grover celebrated, connections of other leading MM Guineas contenders licked their wounds.
Race favourite Biggles ($3.70) ran on fairly in the straight after he settled near the read of the field to finish sixth while Easy Running ($5) capitulated inside the final 150m after dashing clear around the corner to finish fifth.
A $16,000 yearling purchase, Punch On ($9) travelled three wide throughout but still responded to jockey Paul Hammersley’s urgings in the straight to beat the fast-finishing Noisy Ocean ($51) by a half-head.
The Kelso Wood-trained Lucky Morna ($31) turned in an eye-catching performance to finish a long head back third after being last on the corner.
Meanwhile, young Sydney jockey Tommy Berry ended up riding half of the winners on the eight-race card when Demanding Miss took out the final event, the Racing Retro Plate (1350m).
Berry won two of the day’s features for his boss Gai Waterhouse, the BJ McLachlan Stakes on Driefontein and the Bernborough Handicap on Kontiki Park, after earlier scoring on Nuptse for trainer Brian Wakefield.