The Aquis Gold Nugget, a two-year-old feature race which will be contested over 1100m at the Gold Coast on Saturday, has received seventeen nominations.
These nominations included five runners … Alpine Edge, Baby Wong, Finance Tycoon, Mishani Scandal and Shaquero … who have already secured their place in the starting line-up for the lucrative $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic at the same track on January 16 … and twelve other runners looking to jump the queue to get into the big race.
Alpine Edge is two from two, having won the Listed Phelan Ready and the Group 3 B J McLachlan. Baby Wong has yet to win, but he did finish third and then second in the Phelan Ready and the B J McLachlan when only half-a-length behind Alpine Edge on both occasions.
Finance Tycoon won the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington. Mishani Scandal won the Pat O’Shea on debut and has added a fourth, second and third place to his resume since then while Shaquero won the Group 3 Breeders’ Plate on debut at Randwick.
For those not yet in the Classic field, the prize-money for the Gold Nugget could be the final means to an end for them.
The first prize stake-money for the Gold Nuggett is $72 500 which means the winner will rocket up the Order Of Entry and safely claim a place in the final field if they are not there already. Even the $22 500 second prize might be useful for some.
Godolphin has thrown one in at the deep end here who could make things a bit anxious for those connections whose runners are sitting on the fringe of entry. James Cummings has elected to send the unraced Character into the fray off the back of a trial win at Hawksbury and you would have to believe he is not sending Character to make up the numbers.
Two of the other runners in the Gold Nugget but yet to gain a place in the Classic field … Headliner and Portobello Road … came home winners in their respective races last start. Although both were only winning Maiden races, they were also both showing progressive improvement and are stepping up the test here.
Gleneagles, who finished a well beaten second behind the ruling Classic favourite She’s All Class in Wyong Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic, and Rambeau, who finished fourth in the Group 3 Phelan Ready could arguably prove to be the best of the rest of the Gold Nugget line-up.
Clearly, the sense of anticipation going into the Gold Nugget and the eventually outcome of that race will mean more to some than others.
Suffice to say, the Gold Nugget might take place a full week before the huge Magic Millions race-day, but there is still be a great deal at stake.