Bernie Fraser watching Magpie Speak. Photo: Glen McCurtayne
FOLLOWING Magpie Speak's surprise win at Thoroughbred Park on Friday, trainer Bernie Fraser has confirmed the veteran galloper will contest the Braidwood Cup this Saturday.
The 10-year-old was sent into retirement last year following a successful career that included eight race wins, but Fraser has opted to bring him back for one last campaign.
“He was missing the racing side so I thought, 'Bugger it, I'll send him back for the Braidwood Cup',” the trainer said.
Magpie Speak contested last year's Braidwood Cup (1350m) for the first time to finish third, three lengths off the winner, Sebony.
Twelve months on, the son of Singspiel has his trainer confident of a strong showing in Saturday's $14,500 country race following his winning performance at Canberra on Friday.
“It was supposed to just be a nice lead-up race for the Braidwood Cup, but he sort of exceeded himself,” Fraser said.
The punters were not too keen on Magpie Speak leading into his last-start win, which was justifiable given his poor first run back from retirement two weeks prior.
On that occasion, he finished several lengths off the winner in 12th place, but Fraser said the horse had excuses for his below-par performance, given the jockey lost his irons coming out of the barriers.
In a field of nine in Friday's race, Magpie Speak was the outsider at $21, while all the other runners were at no more than 10-1.
However, the 10-year-old silenced his doubters, and turned back the clock to register a comfortable 1�-length win in the MPS Recruitment Benchmark 60 Handicap (1400m).
Michael Travers steered Magpie Speak to his second-up victory, avoiding an incident at the start of the race, when Stacey Rawiller was dislodged from her mount, to beat home the Kerri Kulic-trained Mr Fox.
Fraser was full of praise for his 10-year-old galloper, which he has bred, raced and even seen take part in a different sport during his hiatus from racing.
“I sold him last year to someone who was going to make an eventing horse of him,” Fraser said.
“He would make a great eventing and dressage sort of horse, but it didn't work out with them for one reason or another.
“I bought him back, put him in the paddock and let him settle down and enjoy life, but he kept looking over the fence at the other horses going around.
“He was still missing the racing side.”