Magnificent Storm's biggest test

Former Kiwi Magnificent Storm’s tag as the most exciting pacer in Western Australia will be tested in a ripper $50,000 4YO Championship at Gloucester Park tomorrow (Friday) night.

The son of American Ideal is unbeaten in 10 WA runs since coming from NZ, where he had one unplaced run for Todd Macfarlane at Alexandra Park in October.

Many good judges have declared him the heir apparent to Chicago Bull but trainer Ray Williams admits to being “both scared and excited” about this week’s challenge.

“It all gets serious from this week, especially with his wide draw (gate six) compared to main dangers like Patronus Star (three) and Howard Hughes (10, inside back row),” he said.

“He’s the best horse I’ve had and there’s lots of people talking him up over here because of the way he’s been winning and his times, but we’ll know more about him after this week. His next three races are all big ones.

“This is his first run for three weeks, so he’ll improve on whatever he does.”

Williams, father of champion WA thoroughbred trainer Grant Williams, said Magnificent Storm has been a “pleasant surprise” since joining his stable.

“He’s not a big horse, nothing special to look at and he’s just another horse at home, in that you get no guide on his ability on trackwork,” he said.

“But Aldo (Cortopassi, driver) has really liked him from the start. He says the most exciting part is that we still haven’t got to the bottom of him, we don’t know what his limits are.

“That’s the exciting part of these next three races, starting this week. It’s also why it’s a bit scary.”

Beyond tomorrow night, Magnificent Storm continues to lock horns with Patronus Star, Howard Hughes and others in the $125,000 Group 1 4YO Classic on January 29 and the $200,000 Group 1 Golden Nugget on February 12.

Such has been the impression Magnificent Storm has made in his WA career so far, he’s also right near the top of betting for the Group 1 Chariots Of Fire at Menangle on February 20.

Victory in the Golden Nugget would snare him a Chariots invite, but it’s run just eight days later, on the other side of Australia and amid possibly Covid-19 border restrictions.

That said, Williams said it remained a possibility.

“Right now his Grand Final is the Golden Nugget, but the owners have talked about travelling,” he said.

“We’ll know more in his next couple of runs. If he steps up and keeps winning, no doubt the owners will be keen to look at Sydney.”

The super-strong 4YO Championship even overshadows the return to racing of Chicago Bull at Gloucester Park tomorrow night.

WA’s pin-up pacer faces a real challenge from outside the front row (gate nine) first-up from a break where brilliant last-start winner Bletchley Park looks the main threat.

Plans to take Chicago Bull to the Hunter Cup at Melton on February 6 are in limbo with trainer Gary Hall Sr saying he will not travel while border restrictions for people returning to WA from Victoria remain in place.

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