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Isotope and Away Game will go head to head again in the Magic Millions Guineas

They had a taste of what was to come in the rivalry between these two runners at Doomben on Saturday, in a thriller of a contest, and they will take it up again on Magic Millions day where they are due to take their respective places in the Magic Millions Guineas.

Before Saturday, Isotope had already done more than enough to mark her as a horse with outstanding potential.

Going into the Listed Gold Edition contest at Doomben on Saturday, Isotope was a winner of three of her six races, including a three-length romp in the Listed Mode Plate in her previous start … and her two placings boasted a runner-up finish behind Rothfire in the Group 2 Champagne Classic during the Queensland Winter Carnival.

Those credentials were good enough to see Isotope sent out at prohibitive odds ($1.50) on Saturday with this year’s Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic winner Away Game ($4.20), who was having her first start of her three-year-old campaign, the only other runner quoted under $26 … but, on the track the result would get a lot closer between the two main fancies than that betting suggested.

In fact, it could not have been any closer.

Away Game kicked strongly early in the home straight with Isotope, who raced well back in the second half of the field (she was still third last turning for home) left to do the chasing.

Even when Isotope shifted out into clear air passing the 300m, her task still looked to be an enormous one and, when Away Game dropped the rest of the field, it seemed she had established a winning break, in spite of the fact that Isotope was now making up ground very, very quickly.

Ryan Moloney had now unleashed Isotope going two to the one of Away Game, who certainly wasn’t stopping, and the question now was a simple one … would the post come in time for Away Game or would Isotope get up.

In the end, it was the latter that applied … in an absolute nail-biter … as Isotope arrived in the very last stride.

Trainer Tony Gollan was proud of his winner, but he did point out she was still a work in progress.

‘She is a really good filly. She’s got terrific ability,” said Gollan. “I’m not sure why she couldn’t take up a better spot today … that is my only concern. She stepped away ok, but just didn’t seem to muster as well today.

“I’m not sure why that was … maybe that is something we have got to work on a little bit with her.

‘Ryan (Moloney) did everything right. He didn’t panic. When cut the corner, and when he presented her, it was just a question of what she had under the bonnet.

“I really didn’t give us any chance when we straightened up, to be honest, when I saw the second favourite kick like she did. When they can kick like that off the dip here at Doomben … geez, they are hard to run down. I knew my filly would sprint really well, but she was just giving away so many lengths.

“As the line was getting closer, I was thinking … this will be a good warm-up for the Magic Millions without the win. That was what I felt like until the last half-furlong. She is just some horse.

“We were chasing down a really good filly who had a good break on us and she was able to get her down late.

“We’ve got four weeks now (before the Millions) to freshen her legs which seems to suit her.

“We are nowhere near the bottom of her yet! I think it will be a good return match in four weeks.”

So, all things being equal, that now much awaited rematch will take place at the Gold Coast on January 16 where Isotope (still a work in progress) and Away Game (who seems certain to have benefitted from her first up run) will take centre stage.

It’s a mouth-watering a prospect.

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