Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Rising star Magnificent Storm made a dream debut in open-class company when he strolled to an effortless victory in the $25,000 Australian Pacing Gold Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.
Hot favourite at $1.30 from barrier No. 2, Magnificent Storm was smartest into stride and was unchallenged as he ambled through the lead time in 38.7sec. and the opening quarters of the final mile in 31.2sec. and 29.3sec. before sprinting the final 400m sections in 28.1sec. and 27sec.
He won by more than two lengths from $11 chance Ideal Liner, who trailed him throughout. Ocean Ridge, a $61 outsider, who bucked and broke at the start and lost about 40 metres, was last in the field of eight at the bell before finishing gamely along the inside to be third.
The four-year-old New Zealand-bred Magnificent Storm rated 1.56.6 over the 2130m in improving his record to 17 starts for 15 wins and stakes of $239,250.
“I’m very happy with his first run in open company,” said trainer Ray Williams. “There were a couple of very nice horses in the race, and the good thing was that we drew well, which helped a bit.
“Our plan is to aim for the Fremantle and WA Cups at Christmas time. He will have a few more runs now before a spell, and then be prepared for the big races.”
Star reinsman Aldo Cortopassi was delighted with Magnificent Storm’s performance, saying: “I was surprised we got such a comfortable lead time. I thought that some of the old war horses could have tested us a bit. But it was a small field, and they were all able to find a spot, and that probably worked in our favour.
“He travelled really well and when I let him down, he accelerated really quickly, and I made him run through the line. There were no signs of switching off, and to beat quality horses was very good.” Mighty Conqueror, the second fancy at $7, enjoyed an ideal passage, one-out and one-back, but failed to make up ground in the final stages, finishing a well-beaten fourth. His stablemate Patronus Star ($7.50) faded to eighth and last after racing in the breeze.