SPREYTON trainer Barry Campbell continued his dominance of the feature two-year-old races when promising filly Lustica won the $50,000 Magic Millions Classic at Mowbray last night.
Despite drifting from $1.70 to $2 in the fixed-odds markets, Lustica proved too good for her rivals after being given the run of the race just behind the leader by jockey Anthony Darmanin.
She scored by 1-1/2 lengths from pacemaker Rumeron ($18) with plunge horse Scouting Around two lengths away third.
Scouting Around, a first-starter, was backed from $4 into $2.60 fixed odds but, after looking a chance on the home turn, raced greenly in the straight and was unable to make any headway on the first two placegetters.
Lustica is raced by a syndicate formed by Star Thoroughbreds boss Denise Martin and was the best-performed horse in the field.
At her only previous start, she ran second to Geegees Doublejay at Elwick in December, finishing in front of the state's top two-year-old Admiral.
``She's a nice filly and will get better,'' Campbell said.
``It's been a good effort to win first-up over 1200 metres.
``We had her ready to run her in the first two-year-old race of the season but she cut her backside on a fence and we had to abort that plan.
``As a result, she missed a couple of the better races but she can go into the Gold Sovereign Stakes now.''
JOCKEY Brendon McCoull describes Havana Stash as ``a bit of a thinker'' which is a polite way of saying he tends to stop when he gets to the front.
It's a trait that cost him a win in the 3YO Cup at Mowbray in December but McCoull was able to coax the gelding to victory in last night's $50,000 Magic Millions 3YO Classic.
``He could be a class horse but, at the moment, he just doesn't go to the line,'' McCoull said.
``The plan tonight was to hold him up and just let him ping the last 50 metres but the race didn't pan out as we thought.
``I got to the front earlier than I would have liked and I was worried that something might come late.''
Havana Stash, the $2.40 favourite, beat two $23 chances, Incum Coming and Liberty Heights, with his stablemate Vigilante fourth and another outsider, Justamenace, an unlucky fifth.
Co-trainer Scott Brunton confirmed McCoull's assessment of the winner.
``We like the horse _ he's got a bit of character _ but he does a lot wrong,'' Brunton said.
``He pulls up in his races but he'll get the hang of it eventually.''
Brunton said the 3YO Classic at Mowbray on Launceston Cup day was the gelding's main target.
Part-owner Brett Williams said that Havana Stash's other co-trainer David Brunton had selected the horse as a yearling, paying $20,000 for him at the Launceston sales.
KEEP The Cash earned a guaranteed start in the Launceston Cup with his win in last night's $25,000 Night Cup.
However trainer Brendan McShane is not certain that he will take it.
Keep The Cash was given a perfect run, sitting in third place, by Shuji Amano before finishing strongly to score a comfortable win over Hobart Guineas winner Moonless and Devonport Cup winner Red Eagle.
``He's a bit in and out with his form and there's no guarantee he will do that again at his next start,'' McShane said.
``But we saw the real horse tonight.
``I will think about the Launceston Cup but this a young stayer still learning.
``He's only a four-year-old, stands 17 hands, and is just a big baby so we have to think about his long-term future.''
McShane is also not certain that Keep The Cash can run 2400m in top company.
``We will enter him for the cup just in case and see what happens,'' he said.