The Magic Millions was forced back a race after an accident on the Pacific Highway left four runners unable to get to the track in time. Kavak, Euphoric Summer, Gotta Kiss and Dusty Tycoon needed a police escort to get there and arrived just over an hour before the rescheduled time.
Away Game gave Maher and Eustace a 10th, and their most satisfying, juvenile victory for the season. She is owned by Hannah Mathiesen, an American who spent last year working for the stable and put together a ladies syndicate for the filly.
“She really liked this filly, bought her and put the syndicate together; it makes it more special,” Maher said.
“They’ve all come out from the US and to get the job done, wow. She’s already a stakes winner and now she’s a Magic Millions winner.
“The team … have put a lot of time and effort into our two-year-olds this year and they’re absolutely flying.
“This is the most satisfying win of my career and it is a team effort. Christine our travelling foreman basically slept with this horse. She’s iced her, every little 1 per cent.”
The key to victory for Away Game was getting cover in a race for the first time. She had led the Merson Cooper Stakes on debut and faded to fourth. Then, in her Calaway Girl run, she dominated from outside the leader.
“She just relaxed with cover today and you could tell in her breathing that she was going to let go,” Currie said.
“She was so comfortable and, when we got into the clear, she went bang. She had a brilliant turn of foot. She doesn’t have to get that much better to be a factor in the bigger two-year-old races to come.”
Away Game was into $11 in the Blue Diamond and put into the Golden Slipper market at $15 after this win. She scored by 1-3/4 lengths from Stellar Pauline, which followed her through the race, with Conceited getting home late in third.
The victory didn’t come as a surprise to Maher.
“There was a sense of timing about her. She’s really developed since her win in the Calaway Girl and she put on weight after it,” he said.
“We just had to trim her down and she raced up to what we thought she’d do – a career best. She’s only going to keep improving.”
There were few excuses for those behind Away Game, with the placegetter happy with the minor money.
“I followed the winner the whole way but she was a bit too good for us,” said Brenton Avdulla, who rode runner-up Stellar Pauline.
Damian Lane was proud of the way Conceited found the line. “I had to go a pair further back than I wanted but I was very proud of his effort,” he said.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald