The experience of Glyn Schofield has proved critical for connections of wayward colt Zoutenant who almost cost himself an important and lucrative victory in the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic on Thursday.
Sent out a well-backed $2.40 favourite, the Kevin Moses-trained youngster surged to the lead halfway up the straight but shifted out abruptly in response to the whip.
Schofield was forced to navigate the tightrope between safe riding and victory as James McDonald on Surf Seeker rattled down the outside with Single Gaze splitting the pair.
He got enough out of Zoutenant to cling to a nose win over Surf Seeker with Single Gaze another long head away third.
“A run presented itself outside Winona (Costin’s mount) and he took the run but, wow, when I gave him a reminder behind the saddle he decided to shift ground instead of concentrating and running true,” Schofield said.
“He’s going sideways instead of forward at that stage and of course I had to make sure I kept him on a straight path. Fortunately he’s done enough to win.
“He’s probably won a bit easier than the margin suggests.”
Zoutenant’s victory in the $200,000 Wyong feature has ensured his spot in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast on January 10.
The Bjorn Baker-trained Unencumbered won both races last season and Moses confirmed Zoutenant would be given the chance to emulate that feat.
“He just won but that’s all they have to do,” Moses said.
“He’ll improve on that.”
Surf Seeker ran a slashing race at his first start while Perignon also caught the eye with her fourth after coming from last on the turn.
Zoutenant has been elevated to the second line of betting for the Magic Millions Classic, equal with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Carriages at $8.
Surf Seeker, a $26 chance before Thursday’s race, is now $10 with unbeaten Queenslander Wicked Intent holding favouritism at $3.80.