Magnum (Danielle Johnson) brings his best Singapore form to Awapuni in the Flying Handicap.
Accomplished Singapore galloper Magnum completed a triumphant homecoming with a black-type win in today’s Listed Bramco Granite & Marble Flying Handicap at Awapuni.
The son of Per Incanto was bred by Little Avondale Stud and sold for $100,000 as a yearling. He won four races in Singapore and placed in four black-type events, earning more than $350,000 in stakes.
Brought home and now raced by a syndicate that includes Little Avondale’s Sam Williams, Magnum finished second at Ellerslie and ninth in the Gr. 3 Darley Stallions Plate in his first two New Zealand starts.
Stepping up to 1400 metres today, Magnum trailed the early leader Sound Works before warming into his work in the home straight.
With today’s Group One-winning jockey Danielle Johnson in the saddle, Magnum surged to the lead and withstood the fast-finishing Ruby Armani and Shadows Cast to win by a long neck.
It was a second career stakes win for Magnum’s new trainer Lauren Brennan, who previously won the 2012 Castletown Stakes with Excellent Reward.
“He’s shown a lot since he came into the stable,” the Cambridge trainer said. “His first start was a huge run for second, where Rich Billie Marsh went out to a huge lead. Even in the Darley, he still hit the line very strongly.
“I was looking forward to stepping him up in distance, and I think a mile (1600m) will really be his go.
“He had a little break when he first got back to New Zealand, he stayed out at Dean Hawthorne’s. Then he came back into work and it was like he’d never left. He’s just got the best temperament in the world, and he’s the coolest horse to be around. He’s got a great mind.
“We were pretty confident coming into today, but then Danielle mentioned that the ground wasn’t that great beside the rail. I thought, ‘Oh no – the one time he draws well…’
“But Danielle did a really good job and we’re rapt.”
Brennan is now looking ahead to a 1600-metre feature at Pukekohe on April 21.
“I’ve been thinking about the Easter Handicap,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to seeing him go a mile.”
Placegetters Ruby Armani and Shadows Cast both made up an impressive amount of ground in the straight from well back in the field.
The warm favourite Heroic Valour hit the lead at the top of the straight and stuck on for fourth. Wet tracks have plagued his summer campaign, and today’s Dead5 surface may have been more of the same.