In the past riders like Dwayne Dunn and Damien Oliver might have been seen to good effect at the Gold Coast for the $10 million Magic Millions Day.
But the old saying that little fish are sweet applies to racing as much as anything else, and the duo, employed at Flemington rather than in Queensland, ensured that it was a tasty day for both despite the fact that there were no million-dollar prizes on offer.
The pair are vastly experienced men and although in their mid forties both are riding at the top of their game, as they showed with two winners apiece at headquarters.
Dunn saluted on the Godolphin-trained two-year-old Microphone in the opening event, and followed up in the penultimate event, the days's feature Chester Manifold Stakes, aboard the improving Manolo Blahnik for Mornington-based Tony Noonan.
Oliver notched a mid-afternoon running double, cajoling the well-backed O'lauto to get up close home for Cranbourne-based Greg Eurell before bringing Flemington 2000-metre specialist Second Bullet with a smooth late run to score in the Club Stand Handicap for Danny O'Brien, with whom Oliver has established something of a rapport in recent months.
The O'Brien/Oliver combination couldn't make it a hat trick for the rider two races later when the fancied Order of Command could not make it three out of three, the outsider Chauffeur showing a welcome return to form to give Dean Yendall and Darren Weir a double on the day.
Yendall had guided home the Weir-trained Silenz in the Nominate Now For The All Star Mile, getting the better of the ''cult'' horse So Si Bon, a frustrating galloper who is, it must be said, showing more consistency since he was gelded.
Damian Lane, back in Victoria after a mid-summer spell in his native Perth during the WA carnival, got the Ciaron Maher/David Eustace-trained Bold Arial home in the three-year-old fillies race while Luke Currie and trainer Tony McEvoy, whose Pretty Brazen had just been touched off in the two-year-old race by Microphone, made amends with Set to Sparkle in the Bluegrass Bar Trophy for fillies and mares.
Manolo Blahnik doesn't win much – this victory was only his fourth from 24 starts – but Dunn believes the now five-year-old is just maturing and continuing to improve.
Both he, and his trainer, Tony Noonan, are likely to try to step him up in class if he maintains his current form.
Noonan said the decision to geld the son of that good New Zealand horse Jimmy Choux had made all the difference.
''He struggled with being a colt. He used to want to over-race with nervous energy. He will go to a Stakes race,'' Noonan said.
And even the All Star Mile – a race in which the runners are decided by popular vote – might be under consideration.
''If we get enough votes….all the girls who like shoes, he's the one to vote for,'' he said.
Apprentice Fred Kersley turned the last into a procession aboard the strongly fancied I Am Someone.
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