License article

Fears over rail for Assail

It’s the elephant  on the Gold Coast  racetrack  Canberra’s Igor Brkic  is trying not to think about – the chance to win a slice of the pie  that is the $2million  Magic Millions  Classic for two-year-olds over 1200 metres.

Brkic and Kevin Matthews are partners in the LDJ  Syndicate and are part-owners of the $2.90 favourite  in Saturday’s feature race for juveniles, Assail.

They also own a share in Capital Commander, trained by Canberra’s Nick Olive, which is  aiming at back-to-back victories in the Magic Millions Handicap for fillies and mares   (1300m).

Brkic did not want to take sides over which horse he wanted to win the most, taking  the safe option  of plumping for both.

He said they had travelled well and were fit and firing.   However, he did concede Assail’s barrier one was a concern.

‘‘We’re not thinking about [the $2 million prizemoney] at the moment,’’ Brkic told Fairfax Media from the Gold Coast.


‘‘We would’ve liked to have drawn out a little bit, maybe four to eight. The rail is a concern for us.

‘‘Our race will be determined for us by how she gets out of the barriers.’’

Brkic said the Magic Millions had its own relaxed atmosphere and was nothing like the buzz of Melbourne Cup day.

It’s his second trip to the glitter strip and he has never been beaten there after Capital Commander saluted last year.

But the Magic Millions is not just about the races, it is also about the sales with some of Australia’s richest horse flesh on offer.

Brkic went up on Friday to check them out and if Assail gets up he might make a purchase before he comes home.

‘‘You always run your eye over a couple,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a look at a couple today that are actually going through the sales on Sunday.

‘‘A lot depends on how you go [on Saturday], if you bring the cash home we’re always looking at reinvesting in the industry and purchasing hopefully the next Assail or the next Capital Commander.’’

Canberra trainer-breeder Neil Osborne  was also at the sales. He sold a Snitzel  colt out of Musical Chimes  for $190,000, as well as a Not A Single Doubt  colt for $55,000 and an All American  colt for $50,000.

‘‘The latter two, one was $10,000 more than I thought and the other was $5000, but the Snitzel was probably $30,000-40,000 better than the reserve I had on him,’’ Osborne said.

He had two fillies still to sell and was expecting each to go for about $50,000.

Osborne has seen fellow Canberrans Barbara Joseph  and  Olive about and did not think they would return empty handed.

While the main focus is on the Gold Coast, Olive also has Natch Catch running in a fillies and mares benchmark 77  handicap (1400m)  at Rosehill.

Joseph  and Paul Jones also have a runner at Rosehill,  with Delabombell  jumping in the fillies and mares benchmark 75  handicap (1100m).