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Magic Millions on John Gilmore's radar

Fri 19 November 2021

By Glenn Davis

Ipswich Cup winner Happy Go Plucky has proven to be a gold mine for John Gilmore but that isn’t stopping the veteran Gold Coast trainer of dreaming of further success at the Magic Millions in January.

Happy Go Plucky steps outs for the second time this campaign as a $61 outsider in Saturday’s Mooloolaba Cup over 1600 metres at the Sunshine Coast.

Gilmore is a realist when it comes to assessing his chances and is not getting carried away with his prospects.

“He’ll probably find them a bit too slick on Saturday and he’s drawn barrier 15 and will need a lot of luck,” Gilmore said.

“But, there’s no better jockey around than James Orman.”

Gilmore is aiming Happy Go Plucky for the $1 million Subzero over 2400 metres on Magic Millions day but will need to secure a wild card to make the feature.

“I bought him for $7,000 at the Magic Millions sales and he’s already won nearly half a million dollars in prize money,” he said.

“Unfortunately, I never paid up for him for the Magic Millions so to get into the race in January he needs to win a wild card race somewhere.”

The race Gilmore has picked out is the $250,000 The Shoot Out over 2200 metres at Doomben on January 1.

“He’ll need another one or two runs before then but he’s a 2000 metre and more horse,” he said.

Happy Go Plucky failed to beat a runner home when he made his comeback over an unsuitable 1200 metres at the Gold Coast earlier this month. 

“He ran okay first-up but it was only 1200 metres and his rider said he was strong to the line and they didn’t get away from him,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore is banking on Happy Go Plucky reproducing his winter carnival form when he steps up in distance during the TAB Queensland Summer Carnival.

After winning the Listed Ipswich Cup, Gilmore sent him across the border for the Listed Grafton Cup over 2350 metres before backing up him three days later in the Listed Caloundra Cup.

“He ran seventh at Grafton but he wasn’t beaten far and had I not taken him there he would have won the Caloundra Cup instead of finishing third,” he said.

“He hit a flat spot at the wrong time in the Caloundra Cup and he was only beaten just over half a length.”

The 73-year-old has been training for 35 years and has a wealth of experience behind him training in Macau and China.

He trained for five years in Macau and won their biggest races, the Derby and Director’s Cups, before moving to mainland China for six years in the early 2000s.