Dion Luciani's decision to take a gamble on flashy chestnut Flying Zoe has strengthened the leading Ascot stable's chances of claiming a fourth $250,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m) next month.
Luciani, who trains in partnership with his father Lou, rode Flying Zoe's dam Miss Castaway as a short-priced favourite to win over 1200m at Belmont Park in 2005.
He was prepared to forgive the Marooned mare's poor record at stud when her daughter, by Darley stallion Street Boss, entered the Magic Millions sale ring last February. He bought the yearling for $20,000.
Only one of Miss Castaway's three previous foals had been a winner.
Yesterday, as a $6 chance on debut, Flying Zoe brought undone a big plunge on Rio's Rose when she dashed home from eighth on the turn to an impressive win in the Westspeed Plate (1000m) at Ascot.
"Ron Sayers and Tony Patrizi bred the filly and kept a half-share in her after I bought her," Dion Luciani said.
"I liked her as a type and I knew her dam well. Miss Castaway was such a good racehorse I knew she had to throw a good one sooner or later."
Luciani sold the other half-share to stable client Mathew Hogan.
Miss Castaway has a bay colt by Discorsi in next month's sale.
Lou Luciani has previously won the 2YO Magic Millions with Amelia's Reason (2008), Lock The Vault (2005) and Gambei (2001).
The stable hopes yesterday's fifth-placed Play With Fire can earn a start in the Magic Millions.
"Play With Fire was unlucky not to run second and she will run next week to try to qualify," Dion Luciani said.
"We also have Majanzo running on Saturday. We have Authentic Style running next week."
Trainer Donna Riordan will bypass the Magic Millions with O'Hara De Belle, who will be aimed at the Karrakatta Plate (1200m) on April 6.
Riordan has Western Tom trying to qualify for next month's restricted race via Saturday's 1000m race. Riordan scratched the Balmont colt yesterday because of a wide draw.
Apprentice Joseph Azzopardi was suspended for 26 days for causing major interference in race six aboard Lord Balthazar and Brad Parnham was banned for 12 days for careless riding on Bradford Badboy in race one.ˇApprentice Ellie Cockram was found guilty of careless riding at Ascot last Saturday, and didn't plead guilty as was reported in _ The West Australian _yesterday.