As he so often does, Chris Waller pulled the right rein when Madam Rouge scored a narrow win in the Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) at the Gold Coast.
Waller was considering starting Madam Rouge in the Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m) before opting to run her in the Snippets.
“We wanted to separate her and Invincibella. They’re both very good horses and when she drew barrier one in this race it made the decision a bit easier,” Waller said.
“I didn’t want them both running together. I think Madam Rouge can come back next year and probably run in the Fillies and Mares race.”
Waller plans to give Madam Rouge a short let-up before aiming her at the autumn carnival in Sydney.
“She’ll have a crack, similar to what we did with Invincibella last year, at some of the better targets for mares.
“I really do think she can win a good race. Whether it be 1200m or 1400m I’m not sure but we’ll have a look at the Coolmore and obviously the Tatt’s Tiara later on in the winter.”
Madam Rouge ($4.80) settled midfield before jockey James McDonald angled her into the clear at the 250m and overhauled Isaurian ($5) to win by a head.
“She’s been a really good mare and has been knocking on the door lately,” McDonald said.
“She seems to be getting better and better and it was the right sort of race for her.”
McDonald was impressed by the mare’s will-to-win.
“The second horse had me where he wanted me but I was on a superior horse on the day and she got the job done,” he said.
In the process, the mare denied Isaurian a history-making win as the first “wildcard” entry to win a Magic Millions race.
The immediate racing future of Champagne Cuddles, the $4.60 favourite, is in limbo.
The mare faltered badly nearing the home turn and failed to finish the race, suffering a career-threatening leg injury.