Magic Pharoah out to win back-to-back Highways

The Lou Mary-trained Magic Pharoah will be shooting for back-to-back Highway Handicap wins at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Image – Racing and Sports.

With next to no rain about, Royal Randwick should be perfect today, and with the rail position +6m from the 1600m to the winning post, every runner should get their chance in the 1600m Class Three Highway Handicap. 

As he always does, Thunderbet’s Johnny ‘Highway’ Patton has run his eye over the field.

A few scratchings mean we have a 14-horse field and looking at the Thunderbet speed map (see below), they will go along quickly as there is a fair bit of speed from runners who have drawn wide barriers. 

I think it will take the field a while to settle into a position. If you are able to make ground, Magic Pharoah ($5) will be hard to beat again. 

I’m sticking with the 4YO mare again. Two weeks ago, she won over the track and distance at Randwick, and this race is no stronger.

The Thunderbet speed map.

She came from last to get up in the last stride on that occasion. She only goes up ½ kilo in weight, and with the genuine speed in the race and the ability to make ground, she will be hard to beat again.

My second pick is I Am Good At This ($4.20) for Highway specialist Matthew Dunn.

The Murwillumbah trainer hasn’t had many starters in the Highways over the last month, and this horse looks like it could get him off to a bang in 2024. 

Nash Rawiller takes the ride, which is always a good sign when he brings his horses to town. 

The horse has had a three-week let-up, and looking at its form, that seems to be the key to this horse’s success. 

It loves the journey and a good track. It does have 59 kilos, but last start at Murwillumbah in December, it carried 60.5kg to victory in a 1550m Benchmark 58 Handicap, and on that effort, he should be in the finish.

Final Comment ($6) is my third pick. It comes out of the same race as Magic Pharoah, which was its first trip to town, and it didn’t disappoint, running a very nice third when beaten less than a length.

It drops a ½ kilo in weight and is drawn ideally in barrier two after being awkwardly drawn last start. The Nick Olive-trained four-year-old loves the journey and will be better for the experience.  

My ‘each way play’ is Amalfi Amore ($34). Trained by astute trainer Terry Evans, this 5YO gelding finished eighth and was four lengths behind Magic Pharoah last start.

The run was much better than it looked, with the horse never on the track. 

Blake Ryan stays on board and connections have drawn much better in this event. The good track will suit, too, and the Tuncurry galloper appears way over the odds. 

Thunderbet’s tips 

  1. Magic Pharoah ($5)
  2. I Am Good At This ($4.20)
  3. Final Comment ($6)

Each way play: Amalfi Amore ($34 & $ 7).