Jonker not scarred by Magic Millions mayhem
BRILLIANT colt Jonker escaped without any mental or physical scarring from his horror Magic Millions ordeal and is ready to resume his race career in the Group 3 $150,000 Singapore Airlines San Domenico Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Jonker scored easy wins in the Max Lees Stakes and Wyong Magic Millions at his only two starts and was one of the favourites for the Magic Millions 2yo Classic at the Gold Coast in January only to suffer severe interference at the first turn.
It was a miracle Jonker and jockey Hugh Bowman did not crash to the turf with the colt eventually trailing the field home more than 21 lengths behind Sunlight.
Jonker hasn't raced since but trainer David Atkins believes the three-year-old is primed for his clash with a quality field of young sprinters on Saturday.
"He had a few bumps and bruises coming out of the Magic Millions race but apart from that, he was fine,'' Atkins said. "There is no issue with his confidence, he galloped between horses in his trial without a problem.''
Jonker edged out San Domenico rival Graff in a 800m barrier trial at Gosford on August 6 before a solo exhibition gallop between races at Newcastle last week to prepare for his comeback.
Atkins said Jonker was "very casual" when working on his own last week but the colt has a different mindset when in a competitive situation.
"Put him in the gates with a few horses around him and he's a different horse,'' Atkins said.
The Newcastle trainer has had a number of top-class gallopers over the years, including Moss Rocket and Impaler, so he can speak with authority when asked to assess Jonker's potential.
"This colt is pretty smart, he's got a lot of natural ability,'' he said. "We gave him a good break after the Magic Millions, we missed the autumn and he has come back well.
"I have no doubt he will run 1400m, so all going well on Saturday, we will go to the Run To The Rose next and then see if we press on to the Golden Rose.''
Jonker, who will be ridden by Corey Brown, is at $8.50 in early TAB Fixed Odds betting for the San Domenico Stakes behind $3.70 favourite Performer, Plague Stone ($4.80), Neutrality ($6) and Graff ($7).
The Rosebud winner Sandbar and talented Santos were not among final acceptors for the San Domenico Stakes with connections of both explaining they will wait for the Group 2 $200,000 Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on September 8.
Dealmaker, a scratching from Warwick Farm on Wednesday, will line up in the Group 3 $150,000 Ming Dynasty Quality (1400m) on Saturday, where his rivals include promising three-year-olds Outrageous, Toulouse, Danawi, Exceltic and Maid Of Heaven.
Godolphin's boom import Avilius, a stunning Randwick winner at his Australian debut, goes straight to Group 3 level for the $150,000 Premier's Cup (1900m) where his rivals include Auvray, Destiny's Kiss, Emperor's Way, Testashadow, Cordero, I Am Serious and Dagny.
# OUTSTANDING sprinter Menari, winner of The Rosebud and Run To The Rose last year, will join the stallion roster at Newgate Farm Stud this spring breeding season.
Menari, who had been selected by Max Whitby and Neil Werrett to run in their Everest slot last month, suffered a leg injury in training prompting owner George Altomonte to retire the young sprinter.
Whitby and Werrett have one of the three remaining slots for the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 13.