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Exhilarates and Conceited among the prospects on Queensland’s richest raceday

Mike Hedge

A perfect preparation, an ideal barrier and plenty of experience on the course can come together at the Gold Coast on Saturday to give Exhilarates the opportunity to add Saturday’s Listed Magic Millions 3YO Guineas to the Magic Millions 2YO crown she won in 2019.

Exhilarates (Kerrin McEvoy) comes to Saturday’s race with the balance between fitness and freshness in precise harmony, and with the prospect of becoming the first horse to win Queensland’s two richest races.

The filly’s victory in last year’s MM 2YO Classic established her as one of Australia’s best juveniles, a status she has confirmed as a three-year-old with a pair of three-year-old Stakes wins last spring.

Trainer James Cummings believes Exhilarates is in perfect order for her attempt on Saturday’s A$2 million race after coping with a wide gate and a torrid run when resuming in last month’s Listed Gosford Guineas.

“After considering a couple of options, we decided on the Gosford Guineas as the right lead up race. The two-week break it gave her leading into the Magic Millions fitted into her preparation perfectly,” Cummings said.

The trainer also has confidence in the filly’s ability to cope with her first start beyond 1,200m.

“Several of her runs in the spring suggested the 1,400m here would suit her, and the way she finished off at Gosford added to that.”

“She came from near last to win the 2YO Classic last year and was well back from the wide gate at Gosford, but she also showed when she won the Atlantic Jewel at Moonee Valley back in September that she can take up a position and still have something to offer at the end.”

As sharp as Exhilarates is expected to be, she will face stiff opposition from the local colt Alligator Blood, the winner of seven of his eight starts.

While Exhilarates lines up for the second leg of the big Queensland double, Conceited (Damian Lane) will attempt to give Godolphin its second consecutive success in the A$2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the same card.

The colt’s chances aren’t enhanced by a wide gate, but Cummings is hoping his strength at the finish can overcome it.

“He got to the line really well here last week, his last 100m was excellent,” Cummings said.

Conceited was also inconvenienced by a delay at the start that led to him missing the break and by an unruly horse in the early stages of that race.

“For Conceited it’s going to be a matter of whether the 1,200m could be too short for him,” the trainer said.

The stable will also be represented at the Gold Coast by last start winner Isaurian in the A$1 million Magic Millions Snippets.