Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit Series
Stories:   Pacers 2008/2009 Season
Leg 11Find Thirty Every Day WA Pacing Cup   2008/2009Results   Points
               16/01/2009  Gloucester Park, Perth  WA  2536m  Mobile Start  $400,000
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A month earlier the 4YO gelding Mysta Magical Mach NZ was just an MO-class pacer unknown outside of WA.  Last Friday night it captured Perth’s most prestigious event, the $400,000 WA Pacing Cup sponsored by the Find Thirty Every Day campaign. 

The two favourites – Divisive from NSW and Power Of Tara NZ, winner of the Fremantle Pacing Cup the previous week – were both disappointing, being given every chance in Perth’s biggest annual race. 

The victory for Mysta Magical Mach NZ provided a dream result for 62-year-old Byford trainer Tony Svillicich, a part-owner in the gelding with Andrew Curran and Sonya Murrell.  The horse was driven by young 20-year-old Morgan Woodley, having his first drive in the big event. 

In the 28 days leading up to the race, Svillicich gave the metropolitan maiden a busy time, with six starts for five wins and a second.  Its form looked outstanding on paper. But this had been against moderate opposition, and many punters could not see this son of Mach Three CA upsetting Divisive, the recent SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile winner, nor the in-form Power Of Tara NZ. 

These were the only two in the betting with Divisive sent out the 6/4 favourite and $2.60 on the tote, from Power Of Tara NZ.  There was a nibble at double-figure odds for Sneakyn Down Under NZ (Chris Lewis), with the visiting Queensland mare Fleur De Lil and drawn gate 2, hovering around a $10 chance on the tote.  It was extremely hot on Friday with a temperature of 42.  Most race mares can be troubled by such heat. 

Trainer Svillicich was born in Croatia.  Since becoming a licensed trainer at Byford, he has become known in harness racing circles in WA as a horseman who often resorts to unorthodox training methods.  

The partnership that races Mysta Magical Mach NZ is unusual to say the least.  Andrew Curran, 38, an enthusiast from the Victorian city of Bendigo, purchased Digger Of Fortune off Svillicich in 2004 through a Claimer at Gloucester Park.  When this pacer failed to win in six starts in Victoria, he sent the horse back to be trained again by Svillicich in the west where it won a further 16 races! 


Reinsman Morgan Woodley with the owners of
Mysta Magical Mac after the 2009 WA Pacing Cup.

Mrs Murrell, who was born in England, celebrated her 41st birthday several days before the race.  According to the Perth media, Mrs Murrell is a ‘battling single mother of two daughters.’  This is her first share in a pacer which cost the three owners a total of $130,000 little more than two months ago. 

The extremely well performed Divisive has been somewhat disappointing since winning the Miracle Mile at Harold Park on November 28.  However, when trainer-driver Peter Rixon took the horse from Bathurst to Perth, it was sent out favourite in the Fremantle Cup despite having been handicapped off the lone back mark of 20m.  It turned in a grand effort with a sound second to Power Of Tara NZ, trained by Greg Harper. 

Under the free-for-all conditions of the WA Pacing Cup, it was generally considered that Divisive would make amends starting off the second line, with plenty of money also for Power Of Tara NZ, suggesting it would be a real danger off the front line. 

When the mobile despatched the field on Friday night, Scruffy Murphy (Mark  Reed) began best, grabbing the early lead from out wide. Power Of Tara NZ had begun safely but not fast from the pole, with 22-year-old Ryan Bell moving him off the inside line as soon as he could. 

Queensland horseman Luke McCarthy had his mare Fleur De Lil one-out and one-back in the early stages, and would continue to give her a good run throughout. Mr Yankee NZ, a stablemate of Power Of Tara NZ, was not away well and would remain at the rear. 

Scruffy Murphy continued to lead from Sneakyn Down Under NZ, Washakie NZ and Power Of Tara NZ, and the Queensland mare.  Backers of the favourite would have been happy as Rixon had his gelding well placed for it at mid-field. 

At the 1100 metre mark, Bell took off on Power Of Tara NZ, with Divisive latching onto its back to get a good cart into the race at the right time. 

But no sooner had Power Of Tara NZ briefly got to the front and seemed a likely winner, the gelding downed tools and ran up the white flag. 

Sneakyn Down Under NZ eventually managed to take the lead 500 metres out, with Divisive coming through in fine style.  

Hayton Brain NZ, ninth and three wide at the bell, had then moved out four wide coming to the home turn, which then forced Mysta Magical Mach NZ out five wide when making its sweeping run from near the tail of the field.  

Divisive looked all over a winner up the straight and even when Mysta Magical Mach NZ lunged on the line, the one on the inside appeared to many punters to have just hung on.  But the photo print showed otherwise, with third place to Hayton Brain NZ (Don Harper). 

In hindsight, Mysta Magical Mach NZ probably put the writing on the wall for a good run in the WA Pacing Cup when at 83/1 on the tote it had flashed home to be second in the classic race for the four-year-olds, the time-honoured Golden Nugget to Schinzig Buller.  This was just two weeks after arriving in Perth.  

That Reed had set an extremely slow pace on Friday night when leading the field, was later confirmed with the slow mile rate of just 2:17.8 – by far the slowest seen on the Barastoc Pacers Grand Circuit this season.  Scruffy Murphy beat only two to the line despite having had it so well during the race. 

There seems to be only a slim chance of the winner being sent over to Melbourne to race this season, as connections pointed out after Friday night’s victory that Mysta Magical Mach NZ would start this weekend in the $125,000 Australian Pacing Championship at Gloucester Park, then a week later the $50,000 Western Australian Newspapers ‘Nights of Thunder.’  



All Time Pacing and Trotting Records pre-2001 please refer to the Australian Harness Racing Annual.

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