Hanabi to chase Magic Millions glory at the Bridge

Trainer Phillip Stokes is hoping a change of tactics can help propel lightly-raced filly Hanabi to a healthy pay day in Saturday’s $202,250 Magic Millions SA 2YO Classic at Murray Bridge.

Stokes has only given his promising filly by Pride Of Dubai one start in preparation for the biggest occasion of her young career and it didn’t go all to plan.

Hanabi led the field up on debut in a 1000m scamper at Morphettville on February 13 but was run over the top of early in the straight before lifting off the canvas late to grab second.

“She probably shouldn’t have led on that day and did the leg work but still fought back to finish second,” Stokes said.

“It was a good run considering but I would think she will be ridden with some cover this time.

“Murray Bridge is a nice big track so hopefully she can get a sit and be running home.”

Kayla Crowther will take the steer on Hanabi for the first time under race conditions this weekend but piloted the filly in a trial before her debut.

Stokes is expecting an improved performance from Hanabi second up and believes she will handle the step up to 1200m.

“She is going good and I talked to Tommy (Stokes) who said she worked well on Tuesday over there,” Stokes, who operates bases at Pakenham and Morphettville, said.

“She has shown improvement since her last run but it looks to be a tough race as well.

“The horse that ran in the Blue Diamond Prelude (Scorched Earth) looks like the horse to beat.”

Stokes snapped up Hanabi at the Adelaide Magic Millions Yearling Sale last year for $80,000 and a win on Saturday would pay off that price tag and then some in quick fashion.

Win, lose or draw this weekend, Hanabi will more than likely to head to the paddock after the run.

Hanabi sits on the third line of betting at $8 with TAB.com.au to go one better second-up in the Magic Millions event.

Group 2 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude runner up Scorched Earth ($2.25) holds the edge on the Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes-trained Lady Of Honour ($3.90) at the top of the market.

Meanwhile, Stokes will saddle up two other runners on the card with Bottom Line in the Adelaide Event Catering Handicap (1200m) and Live And Free to tackle the Total Workforce Solutions Handicap (1400m)

Originally published asCover key to Stokes’ Millions bid

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