Stefi Magnetica causes Stradbroke Handicap upset

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Stefi Magnetica

($15,00) has stormed home to claim the Group 1 (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday afternoon, fending off a gallant ($11.00) in the shadows of the post to give NSW-based apprentice his first Group 1 victory in the saddle.

The Bjorn Baker-trained three-year-old had been on the rise despite not having produced a win since a BM58 at on December 28, with the Autumn preparation culminating in a runner-up performance in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m).

She appeared ready to peak third-up into the campaign on Saturday, but from barrier 15, Zac Lloyd had no choice but to drag back towards the rear of the field to maintain cover throughout the journey.

It was a decision that would eventually pay dividends thanks to a strong early tempo by Here To Shock ($34.00) and Prince Of Boom ($26.00), as the leading pair were allowed to stride clear early.

Bella Nipotina was stalking under Craig Walliams, while Stefi Magnetica was forced to make her run towards the inside running rail.

The quinella pair sat down to out the finish with 150m left to travel, but with 6kg less to carry and an economical run in transit, it was Stefi Magnetica finishing off best to collect her first Group 1 win.

Bjorn Baker was out of the country to celebrate the win, however, stable representative Jim Clark spoke on their behalf.

“She's an filly,” said Clark.

“She won a two-year-old race at the back end of the season, she won a BM58 at Orange in December, she was just chinned in the Surround, Bjorn opted to give her a short break and set her for the winter. Her run in the 10 000 was amazing. She was in the wrong part of the track, I think everyone saw that.”

“It was an amazing ride there. To win 's greatest race with a filly that (Gary and Mitch Cunningham) bought as a yearling and trained by one of my best mates and one of my best supporters in Bjorn, is the biggest thrill of my career and I'm just so pleased.”

Zac Lloyd couldn't contain his emotion with his family on course and spoke to the magnitude of the win.

“I was fine the whole time cantering back but to see my dad has got me emotional,” said Lloyd.

“I was very confident pre-race. She galloped enormous on . My dad and I went through the race thoroughly and we honestly thought we were on the right horse. The first furlong or two went perfect. She was in a good rhythm, she wasn't overracing.

“Just as a couple of horses started dropping back in our face I had to make a decision to go around with the pack but I ultimately thought there'd be too much traffic so I thought I was travelling so well I was happy to go inside of them.

“She was tough. I saw Bella Nipotina and I thought that was one horse you don't want to be in a finish with, but she was great.

“It is really good just to get that group one on my resume. I've had some great opportunities in the past year or so and I haven't been able to capitalise. To get the job done today in a very big race, it is very special.”

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