The Shaquero win was champion trainer Chris Waller’s first in the coveted race and doubled as the biggest juvenile success of his illustrious training career.
After beginning well from barrier one, the son of Shalaa was able to settle just behind the solid speed before Bowman presented him into clear running at the top of the straight.
Shaquero – a $160k purchase by @MulcasterBS from @FernriggFarm at the 2020 Gold Coast MM YS – has won the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic over 1200m at the @GCTurfClub. The Hellbent ½ sister was sold to The Racing League for $360k at @mmsnippets on Wednesday #ItPaysToBuyAustralian pic.twitter.com/HATZCQKsaf— Aushorse (@Aushorse_TBA) January 16, 2021
Shaquero exploded over the final 300m to put a 1.25 length margin on Better Than Ready colt Alpine Edge, with another length back to She’s All Class in third place.
Bowman, who won the Classic in 2005 aboard Bradbury’s Luck and in 2007 on Mimi Lebrock, said the inside draw, as well as Chris Waller’s decision to give the colt a warm-up in last week’s Gold Nugget (1100m), paved the way to victory.
“He travelled really well, he benefited from that hot speed early and barrier one was certainly a key ingredient to our success today,” Bowman said.
“I’ve won a couple of Magic Millions (Classics previously) and they were both from low draws and it is a huge advantage to draw inside.
“Full credit to Chris Waller, he’s not generally a back-up sort of trainer but starting this horse last week might have been the key to helping him relax into the rhythm that we saw him get into today.
“I thought on the line he was actually stargazing a bit and if you have a look at the slow motion vision he was pricking his ears on the line so there’s still more to come with him.
“He’s built an amazing training system, not only in New South Wales but around the eastern seaboard and I can only see that growing as we move into the next decade of horse racing.”
Purchased by Mulcaster Bloodstock for $160,000 out of the Fernrigg Farm draft at the 2020 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, the colt was Shalaa’s first Australian runner, winner and Stakes winner when victorious in last year’s Breeders Plate (1000m).
The progeny of Shalaa were in hot demand across the first four days of the 2021 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, none more so than Lot 382, a colt from Arrowfield Stud’s draft, which was knocked down to James Harron Bloodstock for $1.15 million.
Shaquero’s half-sister by Hellbent was sold for $360,000 on Wednesday to The Racing League.
The bulk of the $500,000 Magic Millions Racing Women’s Bonus – a payday of $325,000 – went to the connections of fourth-placed filly Queen Of Wizardry, who is trained by Annabel Neasham and was ridden by Steph Thornton.
Others horses to collect a Racing Women’s Bonus included Ruby Kisses ($100,000), Ghostwriter ($50,000) and Mura Mura ($25,000).
The top rated juvenile in England and France in 2015 joined the Arrowfield Stallion roster in 2017 in partnership with Al Shaqab.
Winner of the Group 1 Newmarket Middle Park Stakes and the Group 1 Deauville Prix Morny, Shalaa embodies the speed and style of dominate 2 year old racing valued within the Australian market.
Following his Middle Park win Jockey Frankie Dettori commented, “He’s got tremendous speed and he is the fastest two-year-old I’ve ridden. I haven’t met a horse fast enough to lead him.”
His champion trainer John Gosden echoed Dettori’s assessment. “He’s very, very fast – the fastest two-year-old I’ve trained. He has so much speed and has that sprinter’s build, so he reminds us all of Oasis Dream…He’s of that mould.”
In 2017 Shalaa served his first full book of mares in France at owner Al Shaqab’s Haras de Bouquetot, including World Champion and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Treve. Reports on his first European foals are full of praise for the young stallion.