Speedster eyes off Magic Millions success

Local connections: Former Tamworth trainer Barry Lockwood has Hidden Pearl in great nick leading into Saturday's Magic Millions sprint.
Local connections: Former Tamworth trainer Barry Lockwood has Hidden Pearl in great nick leading into Saturday's Magic Millions sprint.

There are not too many times one of your own racehorses lines up in a $1 million race.

But Saturday is one of those days for a series of New England owners, including Barraba breeder Leon Cummins.

Cummins has made the trek to the Gold Coast to watch his charge, Hidden Pearl, contest the Magic Millions Sprint (1200m), a race worth $600000 to the winner.

Bred out of a mare Cummins raced in Panama, Hidden Pearl has been a wonderful mare for her connections, banking $326980 in prizemoney from an impressive career featuring eight wins from 17 starts.

"Panama raced for Phillip White, Mark Mason and I. She won four races for us from very few starts and also ran third in Sydney one day," Cummins said.

"We sent her to Hidden Dragon for Hidden Pearl, and we've got a Snippetson colt who is about 18 months old and a foal by Nicconi on the ground."

Hidden Pearl booked her place in the lucrative race day by racing away with the Listed Falvelon Quality (1000m) at Eagle Farm on New Year's Eve.

"By winning that race she earned a wildcard into the sprint because usually the only horses who can race on Magic Millions day are bought through the sales," he said.

"It is just a great thrill to have her in a $1 million race and she goes into the race as a top chance with winning form."

Cummins will join an ownership group which also includes his partner Tracey, White and Tamworth's Andrew and Felicity Penman at the race day.

"We'll have a big crew there and she's in the last race, so we'll be waiting in anticipation," he said.

“You always dream of having a horse running in big races and it will be a memorable and special day for everyone being there.”

The New England connection does not stop with the horse.

Trainer Barry Lockwood is a Tamworth export and has certainly put the polish on the talented speedster from his Eagle Farm base after Hidden Pearl went winless in her first four starts.

"We've been rapt with Barry," he said.

“He’s a Tamworth boy, went to school there and I’ve known him all my life, he is a superb horseman.

"He's done a marvellous job with her, she has won eight of 13 starts since arriving in the stable."

Underrated jockey Brad Pengelly continues his association with Hidden Pearl, rated a $7 chance on TAB Fixed Odds.

Cummins is a fan of Pengelly, a talented hoop that has ridden more than 700 career winners despite at times struggling with his weight during a two-decade long career.

“Brad is unbeaten on her and did a great job to rate her in front the other day,” he said.

“He rode 54kg that day and is going to have few problems with 55kg for us.”

Hidden Pearl has drawn barrier six in a race that will have 16 starters, with Target In Sight ($4.80) and Dothraki ($5.00) vying for favouritism.

The race is at 5.40pm.