Quackerjack goes to the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast off a strong win at Randwick.
A long-time association with Quackerjack’s owner Frank Mittiga will reap a big dividend for trainer Mark Newnham if the colt can win the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast.
A former jockey, Newnham is well known through his work as foreman with the Gai Waterhouse stable for more than a decade.
When Waterhouse went into a training partnership with Adrian Bott about two years ago, Newnham decided to branch out on his own.
He decided he needed a horse which would develop into a genuine contender in big races and was at the Magic Millions Sales with that in mind when he bought Quackerjack.
His long-time friend Mittiga encouraged him to bid $240,000 for Quackerjack.
“I only had a limited budget and got one other horse. But it has turned out the right decision because Quackerjack has been doing the right thing by us,” Newnham said.
“He has the right constitution and mindset to win a big race.”
Quackerjack ran last at his first start in Breeders’ Plate at Randwick in October but Newnham still believed he had a smart horse on his hands and gave him a break.
The colt has come back stronger and scored an impressive win at Kembla Grange when he resumed.
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He then beat a good quality field at Randwick last Saturday week to earn a start in Saturday’s rich race at the Gold Coast.
Quackerjack will start from barrier 14 if there are no scratchings but Newnham has taken that in his stride.
“It is what it is. I can’t do much about the barrier,” he said.
“I think the 1200 metres in the Millions Classic is going to be ideal for him at this stage. I know he has a bad barrier but there is a lot of pace around him and a lot of pace inside him.”
“I hope he can get over maybe two or three off the fence but with cover midfield. He will be strong when many are stopping. Quackerjack can win the race in the last 100 metres not the first 100.”
Newnham and Mittiga have been friends since Newnham’s days as a jockey and a win would be an extra thrill.
“You need good owners who stick with you and you like to reward them with big wins,” Newnham said.
Newnham has also stuck with Koby Jennings who has ridden Quackerjack in both his wins.
“Koby started riding for me about nine or ten months ago. He is vastly under-rated and he knows the horse,” Newnham said.