How to make a million at the Magic Millions

SO you want to make a million at the Magic Millions?

Well, the Daily Telegraph has done the hard yards at the annual horse sales and racing extravaganza for you, canvassing the equine experts and we've found all you need is years of knowledge, expertise, research ... and a decent dose of lucrative luck.

Glen and Viva Williams purchased Karuta Queen for $50,000. Picture: Jerad Williams
Glen and Viva Williams purchased Karuta Queen for $50,000. Picture: Jerad Williams

Just take Glenn and Viva Williams from Northbridge, who spent $50,000 of an ­inheritance at the 2011 Magic Millions on a chestnut filly they called Karuta Queen. A year later it stormed home to win almost $2 million at the same carnival's race day on the Gold Coast.

"I thought she was a nice little filly, I had a bit of a look at the pedigree, and thought we would have a crack at it," Mr Williams said.

Emboldened by their success they walked straight back into the auctions after the races on a Saturday night and blew the lot on another 14 yearlings - which sank without trace.

It is not an easy task, given it usually involves setting your sights fairly high.

At the Magic Millions horse sales yesterday legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse warned: "You are not coming here to buy a racehorse - you are coming here to buy a champion who can win the Melbourne Cup, The Everest or the next Magic Millions.

Do your homework, urges legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse. Picture: Mike Batterham
Do your homework, urges legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse. Picture: Mike Batterham

"You need people around you who are prepared to do their homework and look at the 1000 horses on sale here to find the right one. You have to be very dedicated and you have to have an element of brilliance."

The man who picks the horses for the sale, Magic Millions managing director Vin Cox, looks for natural athleticism in a horse.

"With yearlings it is the equivalent of walking into a human kindergarten and trying to pick the next Olympic gold medallist. But you can tell straight away that the ­little short fat kid is not going to play AFL.

 

Trainer Kim Waugh has some advice for you if you want to get ahead at the Magic Millions. Picture: Jenny Evans
Trainer Kim Waugh has some advice for you if you want to get ahead at the Magic Millions. Picture: Jenny Evans

"What you are looking for in horses is natural athleticism, the same kind of fluid motion you see in a bowler like Michael Holding."

For Channel Seven racing commentator Francesca Cumani said the real trick is to pick not-so-obvious horses that sell for less. Horses like Care To Think, which was bought for $16,000 in 2015 and will be racing for $600,000 in the Magic Millions Cup tomorrow.

 

Francesca Cumani at Surfers Paradise ahead of the Magic Millions. Picture: Mike Batterham
Francesca Cumani at Surfers Paradise ahead of the Magic Millions. Picture: Mike Batterham

 

Her secret is to listen: "I like to get the horses off the grass and on the concrete so that I can see the alignment of their hoofs and listen to the rhythm as they walk."

Harry Herbert selects horses for his Highclere syndicate with John Warren, the Queen's racing manager. "We are looking for a horse who moves beautifully. You won't find a human athlete who does not move like a panther and it is the same for a horse."

Trainer Kim Waugh said she looks for "an athletic, well balanced horse with a good walk". Her husband, cricket great Mark Waugh, added: "But if everyone is honest there is a little bit of luck involved too."

Francesca Cumani at the Magic Millions polo day. Picture: Richard Gosling
Francesca Cumani at the Magic Millions polo day. Picture: Richard Gosling

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