A horror barrier draw for Princess Hallowell has not dampened owner Craig Thompson's enthusiasm as the star filly searches for her first feature win in Saturday's $250,000 Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m).
The impressive winner in two of her three Ascot starts has drawn 17 in a field of 19, but will come into 13 if the five emergencies don't gain a start. Peter Knuckey will ride her.
The Magic Millions field is the strongest assembled in its 13 editions, with fellow fancies Petrol Power (14) and Camporella (19) also faring badly at the barrier draw.
"It is disappointing as we would have liked to have drawn four, five or six," Thompson said. "You can't worry about it now because that is what she has.
"The best thing is she is absolutely blossoming and is match-hard."
Though Camporella fared worst, trainer Dan Morton's other two runners, Moet Me and Isola Blu, came up with gates three and eight respectively and should be prominent in the market.
Co-trainers Lou and Dion Luciani would have been delighted with last-start winners Flying Zoe (4) and Play With Fire (9) drawing well.
Their other two runners, Authentic Style and second emergency Majanzo, have 12 and 15.
Paul Harvey, who gave up the ride on Princess Hallowell because he opted not to waste to make her weight of 54.5kg, picked up the ride on Bradford Badboy, but the Donna Riordan-trained colt drew badly in 16.
Troy Turner replaces Jason Brown on Vampi Lass (2), while Lucas Camilleri is the new rider on Wivenhoe Express (5).
Princess Hallowell's former rider Shaun McGruddy has made a speedy recovery from a knee injury to land the ride on Surrounded (6).
McGruddy has his first ride today on Sooky Lala in the Crown Perth Handicap (1200m) at Ascot.
McGruddy resumed riding track-work last week after he was given the all clear by doctors.
"I started hydrotherapy work from day one and have been going to the gym every day lately," McGruddy said. "I have not lost much fitness.
"The X-rays showed everything was clear with my knee and the doctors had no problems with me riding again now."
·WA horse of the year Luckygray will have a solo exhibition gallop between races at Ascot on Saturday.
Jockey Shaun O'Donnell will ride the dual Group 1 winner over 1100m in what will be the WA public's last chance to see him before he runs first-up in next month's $1 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Luckygray will fly to Melbourne on Monday or Tuesday with Barakey, who will make his Victorian debut in Saturday week's Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.