Ellis boots home a double
MONEY MAGNET yesterday overcame traffic problems in the stretch run to narrowly beat 11-1 outsider SHINING LIGHT, rescuing punters from what would have been a stunning upset in the 1200-metre open allowance event.
With her main rival, SIEMPRE BUENO, breaking slowly in the seven-horse field, MONEY MAGNET raced comfortably off the pace being set by SHINING LIGHT and SIMPLY THE BEST before angling to the rail coming off the home turn.
However, stubborn SHINING LIGHT, ridden by renowned rail-running jockey, Aaron Chatrie, had Shane Ellis aboard MONEY MAGNET weaving right, then left, then right again, before the four-year-old filly finally saw daylight a half-furlong out.
Shaken by Ellis, MONEY MAGNET split SHINING LIGHT and SIMPLY THE BEST to get home by three- quarter length in a decent time of 1:11.4.
MONEY MAGNET's victory, her second open allowance win, has graduated her to grade one to face the likes of CHACE THE GREAT, who had beaten her by a length in November's Caribbean Sprint.
Ellis returned to land UNCLE TAF at odds of 10-1 in the ninth race at 1000 metres straight. The eight-year-old gelding stormed from last to nab RAS EMANUEL at the wire, winning by a neck.
New trainer Junior Small won the closing event with 4-5 favourite MARK OF A PRINCE. However, for the second time in a little over a month, he lost a race in the stewards' room, when VIRTUOSO was disqualified after passing the post first at odds of 11-1 in the fifth event.
The race was awarded to second-past-the-post SHE'S A BANKER, a 7-1 upsetter, who, along with sixth race winner SARAH LEE (6-1) and 10-1 UNCLE TAF, forced a Pick-9 carryover of $903,862.
The Twilight Pick-6 paid $130,563 and the Pick-4 $33,104. However, the Pick-4's single winner bonus remains untouched at $4.9m going into next Saturday's meet.