Reid's one regret in massive Harness Million upset
By Michael Guerin
Steven Reid had only one regret when Magic Four produced one of the greatest upsets in harness racing history at Alexandra Park on Saturday night.
The previous one-race winner out-toughed Franco Mac but more surprisingly hot favourites Akuta and Franco Indie in the $200,000 Harness Million three-year-old, the glamour event of a windswept night at Alexandra Park.
The shock was total and absolute, with even Reid admitting he gave the son of Bettors Delight no chance against two of the most hyped three-year-olds of recent years.
Which is where the regret came, that training partner Simon McMullan couldn’t be there to share the biggest win of their joint career together.
“We didn’t think he could beat those top two,” admitted Reid.
“So with a big weekend looking at yearlings and sales on Sunday, Simon stayed home at the stables and to do his prep.
“We will get a chance to celebrate it together for sure but he is kicking himself now.”
Reid joked even winning driver Peter Ferguson would have been happy to have not been at Alexandra Park had the huge upset not occurred.
“I rang Ferg to chat about the race today (Saturday) and when he answered he said, ‘I thought you were ringing to tell me he was scratched so I didn’t have to drive up.
“It was that sort of win. We all really like the horse and he had been great here on New Years Eve but when you are up against two as good as Akuta and Franco Indie you don’t expect to win.”
Reid has won $200,000 races or even those worth more before back in the Gold Ace and Monkey King days but they are still a big deal and comes at the perfect time, a reminder to owners purchasing at the sales this week what talented horse people he and McMullan are.
“We don’t have a huge team at the moment so there is room for more.”
Ironically Magic Four had been under off to Australia but Reid is hoping after the win he stays on for the Derbys.
So how did the upset happen?
Well, there were no obvious reasons.
There was early pressure on Franco Indie, who was expected to lead easily but he still held that lead. But the burn gave Akuta the chance to get off the markers and he surged to the lead after 600m.
From there the two hot favourites would have been expected to run the quinella but both performed below their best with the trainers having no excuses.
It was that sort of race on that sort of night.
The race also had an impact on the market for The Race. Just a few days ago Akuta was the $3.50 favourite but he has now drifted to $6 and Self Assured, courtesy of securing a slot and his win a race later, is into $2.30.
But as Saturday showed, anything can happen.