By Andrew Adermann
The $10 million The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday is only days away, but the party has well and truly started.
The Magic Millions brand has become synonymous with its annual Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast which commenced today, showcasing more than 1000 youngsters to prospective buyers.
Over the years, the carnival has grown beyond its flagship sale, with its famed beach run, barrier draw and Pacific Fair Polo among the highlights.
In conjunction with the May Sales, the Magic Millions generates almost $50 million per annum of total economic impact to the Queensland economy, with thousands of people already flooding the shores of the coast in the build up to Saturday’s feature day.
“Magic Millions is the biggest brand we have in Queensland racing,” Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said.
“This year we’ve really expanded it and gone to a whole new level working with the team here at Magic Millions.
“There’s new races on the Saturday prior, a stack of new events throughout the week, a new bonus in the three-year-olds for women’s ownership, so there’s some really great stories taking place here.”
Last Saturday saw the first running of the $200,000 TAB The Wave at Aquis Park, with the Polo and charity lunch taking place the next day where more than $200,000 was raised for the bushfire appeal.
Vendors at the Sale also pledged their support to victims of the bushfires by donating $500 for every yearling sold.
“The first weekend of the carnival kicked off really well, and we are really excited about the rest of the week,” Brendan Parnell continued.
“The week of fairytales, I call Magic Millions week.”
Locals packed the famous Surfers Paradise sands in droves on Tuesday morning to catch a glimpse of the traditional beach sprint, where the likes of Michelle Payne and Zara Phillips saddled up to take on Frankie Dettori and Billy Slater.
The barrier draws for this Saturday’s signature 2YO and 3YO races took place soon after.
“Seeing the horses here on the iconic Surfers Paradise beach, it’s not just about racing, it’s really about spreading the message of a fantastic event to the whole of Australia and to the world,” Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.
“It’s all about the opportunities that are here to bring the great sport of thoroughbred racing together with this beautiful, extraordinary, iconic, location.
“It’s a great tourism advertisement, and that’s why we as a Government appreciate that this is a bigger event than just a racing event, and it brings extraordinary dollars here to the Gold Coast.”
As Saturday draws closer, all of Queensland will no doubt be cheering on two of its favourite sons.
The Candy Man, arguably the most popular horse in the state, steps out in the $1 million Ferrari Magic Millions Trophy as a $2.20 favourite off the back of a summer campaign that has seen the six-year-old grey recapture his best form.
Later in the 3YO Guineas, raging $1.75 favourite Alligator Blood will fly the state’s hopes as the David Vandyke-trained gelding looks for an eighth win from nine starts.
One of very few rated hopes to take down the Alligator is Godolphin-trained Exhilarates, who took out last year’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic in dramatic fashion.
The filly will be looking to make history by becoming the first horse to win both the 2YO and 3YO races.
“Last year’s day was one where all the stars aligned for us and it was probably the greatest thrill I’ve ever had,” Godolphin Australia Managing Director Vin Cox said.
Touching on the carnival as a whole, Cox was ecstatic to see how far it had come in the space of just one year.
“It’s amazing, from the start of the week to the end of the week there’s something on and there’s people in town,” he said.
“It’s showcasing the Gold Coast, it’s showcasing Queensland and Queensland racing is at its peak – it’s just sensational.”
Click here for further information on The Star Magic Millions Raceday.