Day At The Track

Derby win would mean the world to Mario Magri

07:09 PM 03 Aug 2019 NZST
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Maryborough,harness racing
Maryborough Harness Racing

If John Caldow can steer Georgias Pride to victory in tomorrow's Haras Des Trotteurs Victoria Trotters Derby, expect her trainer Mario Magri to promptly take a look to the heavens.

It's been a tough few years for the Melton-based horseman, who has had to farewell four close members of his family.

So while success in the $75,000 feature will be a handy little pay day, it will certainly mean a whole lot more than that for a man yet to taste Group 1 glory.

"If we do win it, I'll be looking at the skies - at my wife, my mum and dad and my brother - and I'll say 'we've done it at last'," he said.

Georgias Pride is named after Magri's late mother, who urged him to end his hiatus from the sport and get back into the game before she passed away in 2016.

After training 27 starters in season 2014-15, Magri wouldn’t take another to the track until March 28 of 2018 when Georgias Pride won on debut.

From there, the daughter of Bacardi Lindy has won six more races and run placings in five group-level events.

Magri has come close, but just can't crack it for that big-race winner.

"I've run seconds and thirds but I can't win the Group 1 and I've been in the game since I was around 17 years old," he said.

"I turned 60 last week so it's been a long time. We keep trying but you know how hard it is out there.

"When my wife (Rosemary) was at the hospital, she said to me: 'whatever you do, be strong with the horses. I'm going to be there helping you train the horses'."

Magri said Caldow had high opinions of the horse, which is owned by his son Leigh Magri and nephew Jacob Camilleri.

"He's amazed himself she has not won a Group 1 race," Magri said.

"If it's not Sunday, there's another time."

Magri said Georgias Pride, a last-start runner-up to I Am Pegasus in the Vicbred Super Series Final (3YO Trotting Fillies), had a "good chance" in the Derby (2690m).

"The distance is going to suit her because the longer the race is, the better she goes," he said.

"If she gets behind the leader or a cosy run, I think she'll be there at the finish."

From barrier one, Georgias Pride is rated as one of the key chances in Sunday's race at Maryborough, but will have stiff opposition from a host of rivals, many drawn alongside her off the front row.

New Zealander Liberty Stride is likely to start favourite after an impressive last-start win at Shepparton, New South Wales and Victoria Trotters Oaks winner Royal Charlotte is another big danger, as is Vicbred Super Series Final (3YO Trotting Colts and Geldings) champion Kyvalley Clichy, Anton Golino-trained All Cashed Up and Andy Gath's winning machine Majestuoso.

The Victoria Trotters Derby is race eight on Sunday's 10-event program and is scheduled for 4.04pm.


Tim O'Connor

HRV Trots Media

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