Trainer Liam Birchley took the first step towards capturing his personal holy grail when Magic Millions graduate Punishing won at Doomben on Saturday.
Punishing ($4.80) ensured himself a start in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic when he sprinted away in the straight to beat Endless Days ($26) by 3-1/2 lengths in the DPMA Handicap.
Birchley has a reputation as a top trainer of two-year-olds and has the knack of getting horses into the Magic Millions Classic field.
He has had at least one runner in the Classic for the past 11 years and has had minor placegetters Pepperano (2015), Ruby Soho (2014), Miss Longstocking (2013) and Pakrika (2009).
Birchley said Punishing would have a break and then come back for the Millions at the Gold Coast on January 9.
“I am not certain he is the exact type to win the Millions but he should be qualified now with $51,000 in prize money,” he said.
“He was still a bit wobbly around the turn today but he will overcome that with experience.”
Punishing is by top sire Not A Single Doubt and cost $60,000 at the Magic Millions sales earlier this year.
Winning jockey Jeff Lloyd said Punishing had stretched out like a class horse in the straight.