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Livingstone family full of pride ahead of Magic Millions 2YO Classic

Tue 11 January 2022

By Jordan Gerrans

There was not a prouder young man at Surfers Paradise on Tuesday morning for the barrier draw of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic than Jack Livingstone.

Jack was one of 21 who went up on stage in front of the massive crowd to draw a barrier for their select horse for the $2 million show-piece race this Saturday afternoon on the Gold Coast.
Young Jack picked up gate five – which he was pleased with – for Bel Esprit gelding Thelwell, who his mother Sharryn trains out of Deagon.

In a race like the Magic Millions, the biggest spending stables and ownership groups from around the world annually descend on Queensland to try and lift the famous trophy in January.

Jack was beaming with pride about his mum’s achievement of landing a galloper in a race against some of the top juveniles in the world, just a couple of years after taking out her trainers licence.

“It really is great when she only has a couple of horses in work and one of them has made it here,” Jack said after he selected barrier number five.

“I am very proud.”

The former track work rider who is trying her hand at training – Livingstone – has four gallopers in her barn and she is happy with that number because as she explains, the float she owns only holds four horses, so she isn’t keen to expand her team any time soon.

She prides herself on using her own training methods to give her team of horses a personal touch.

They are regularly taken to the beach and trained in ways race horses are not usually prepared for races, including going through obstacles, walking over bridges, opening gates, walking through water, carrying stuff and cross country.

Sharryn is still pinching herself that Thelwell has gained a start in the 2YO Classic this Saturday afternoon.

“It is surreal to be honest, we all dream of coming here with a two-year-old,” Sharryn said.

“I am still trying to take it all in and I do not think it will hit home until next week until it is all done.

“It proves that you do not need to be a big stable to get a good horse, I just have been lucky.”

The gelding confirmed his place in the final field up at Caloundra on Friday evening, winning a race for the first time in his young career, after going so close in his first three attempts.

As Sharryn explains, Thelwell is as easy going as it gets, he never really shows much in his work and does not waste energy.

The stable did not realise exactly what they had until his first trial – where he ran second to Mishani Warfare, who will also be in the Classic field on Saturday – and he has flourished since.

The well-educated youngster ran second to red-hot favourite Coolangatta two starts back and while Thelwell is rated a $41 hope with the TAB on Saturday, Sharryn knows her runner will give it his all against the big names from down south.

“He will try 110% percent and Justin Stanley will ride him as perfect as he can,” Sharryn said.

“At the end of the day with two-year-old races, it is usually won by the horse that has the luck.

“We are happy to get into the Magic Millions field and anything else from here is just a bonus.

“Just getting into the race for us is awesome.”

Leading provincial hoop Justin Stanley, who has ridden Thelwell in three of his four career efforts, is a close friend of Sharryn’s and will take the engagement again on Saturday.

Stanley has had success in juvenile feature races on the Gold Coast over the last 12 months, claiming the QTIS Jewel with Sweet Dolly, and Sharryn cannot be happier with the booking, declaring he was a great horseman that can read a race as good as anyone.

Young Jack, who says he is more interested in cow’s than horses – but is still a keen follower of racing, was glad to be able to snag barrier five for his mum.

“It was pretty cool, I was a bit nervous but I was real happy after picking number five,” Jack said.

Meanwhile, Magic Millions managing director Barry Bowditch said there was a buzz in the air on Tuesday following the addition of two new races for next year’s carnival.

In 2023, Magic Millions will add The Syndicate (1200m, 3YOs & up) and Magic Millions The Debut (900m, 2YO) to the race program, which has created plenty of interest within the racing industry, Bowditch thinks.

“Doing the rounds of the complex over the last few days, participants are embracing the two new concepts,” Bowditch said.

“Obviously The Syndicate has got huge traction with all our big ownership groups with people looking to earmark a horse for the race next year.

“They are already plotting a plan, which is fantastic.

“The Debut has spread like wildfire, everyone is trying to get in, it is going to be something extraordinary.

“Trainers are going to be at fever pitch barrier trialing these horses to qualify them for the race in 2023.”

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell is looking forward to The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Raceday this Saturday.

“We are on the Glitter Strip of Australian tourism on the Gold Coast, the sun is shining on the beach and it is a lot of fun,” Parnell said.

“You will see everyone from racing – jockeys, owners, trainers – and it is very relaxed off course until the racing and the bidding starts.

“It is a great fun week on the holiday hotspot of Australia.”