Saluter upset fancied runners Sizzling and Driefontein to score a deserved big race win in the $1 million Gold Coast Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) this afternoon.
Trainer Jason McLachlan wiped away tears as he dedicated the million dollar win to his late father Bruce.
“Dad won three Magic Millions’ but he never won the Guineas,” McLachlan said moments after the thrilling three way finish.
“I hope he’s watching from up there – that’s for you Dad,” he added.
Star Queensland rider Damian Browne had Saluter well positioned outside Driefontein for much of the race before hitting the front in the shadows of the post.
The Slade Bloodstock syndication then held out the Brisbane based favourite Sizzling to win by a short neck. Sizzling in turn was a nose ahead of Driefontein.
Saluter, an $80,000 purchase from the Epic Farm draft at the 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, has boosted to earnings toover $840,000.
“He’s been the unluckiest horse ever,” McLachlan said. “I said the owners, they thought I was a little silly, that he’d nearly win this race.”
“I’d aimed him at it. But all the big names they were all rating the other horses and mine never got a look in.”
“In his last few runs he’s had no luck. He’s a good horse – he just proved that. He crossed and sat outside the leader and still won.”
“He’s very strong to the line. I said last time in, to Rob Slade, that he’d win a big race this horse and this is one I wanted to win.”
“(Dad) got beaten a nose with Picaday in this race – it’s very special,” McLachlan added.
“I told Rob and connections that this is the race I’d set him for and that he’d be spot on – it’s a huge thrill.”
Today’s win was the third in six starts for Saluter. In between he had a second, third and fourth -the last two in stakes races with strong form around Guineas favourite Sizzling.
Proven Group One winning colt Sizzling lost no admirers as he covered ground after drawing the outside barrier and was still coming strongly at the line.
Third placegetter Driefontein, the reigning Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, battled on strongly after leading and was right there at the finish. Hoss Amor was the best of the unplaced brigade in fourth place, ahead of roughie Noogoora Burr.
Saluter is the 53rd individual stakes winner for his sire, Missile Stakes winning Danehill horse Commands.
The leading Australian sire by winners on no fewer than three occasions, Commands is responsible for Group One winners including Purple, Undue, Epaulette, Appearance, Russeting and Commanding Jewel.
His dam, the Show a Heart mare Rosekay Heart, won two races in Brisbane at two and is a half sister to the McLachlan trained 11 time winner and stakes placegetter Nellie Got There.
The family also includes the former Queensland champion Vo Rogue.