By Ray Hickson
Vega Magic’s co-trainer Tom Dabernig says last year’s TAB Everest runner-up will be ridden to his strengths in an effort to go one better at Randwick on Saturday.
The six-year-old completed his final piece of work on Monday ahead of the $13 million race and Dabernig believes the blueprint for Vega Magic is his win in the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at the end of July.
In the inaugural Everest, the gelding went back from a wide gate before making a late charge and running Redzel to less than a length.
“I think he is more experienced the Sydney way of going and hopefully his advantage is he’s a natural, free bowling, on pace horse,’’ Dabernig said.
“We’re hoping he can travel like the day he won (at Caulfield) with the blinkers on.
“At the finish of that race it was like he would have gone through a brick wall.’’
While Vega Magic has tackled the same lead up race, the Memsie Stakes (1400m), as he did last year his preparation has been slightly different.
Last year after the Memsie he was taken to Benalla Cup day and given him a gallop in the reverse direction but this time he road tripped to Albury for a course proper jump out in the blinkers.
He didn’t win the Memsie in 2018 as he did a year ago but Dabernig said his close fourth placing, without the blinkers, had plenty of merit.
“I think Vega is better than he was this time last year,’’ he said.
“It is always hard to compare and I know he won the Memsie (last year) so people think he was in better form then, but he’s bigger and stronger and more settled in his work.
“If he puts in his best performance he is capable of being hard to beat.’’
A look at Vega Magic’s form on wet tracks shows he has won two races on a Soft 6 and was beaten 4.2 lengths in the Goodwood this year in similar ground.
Both Dabernig and jockey Damien Oliver are certain the gelding won’t have an issue if Randwick presents as it did last Saturday.
“There is no doubt he is better on top of the ground but it’s not as wet as it gets in the autumn,’’ Oliver said.
“The fact he has the blinkers on will help him get through the ground.
“He’s pretty foolproof, he’s well travelled and can absorb pressure if it is a pressure race.’’
Vega Magic is one of three horses sharing $7 favouritism with TAB, along with Santa Ana Lane and Trapeze Artist, prior to the barrier draw for Saturday’s TAB Everest (1200m).
The one horse Dabernig is most wary of is the UK visitor U S Navy Flag who beat one of their own and proved his class winning the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket.
“I’ve been watching U S Navy Flag, we raced against him with Redkirk Warrior, if he has travelled and turns up he could be a big threat,’’ Dabernig said.
“He might be a different class.’’