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  • Provincial Racing NSW


TIME certainly flies!

Seems hard to believe it was 22 years ago that Jason Deamer enjoyed Magic Millions glory, but it’s a fact.

Deamer was assistant trainer to owner-trainer David Throsby when the grey filly Lovely Jubly (Scott Seamer) beat Chuckle and Cool Trent in the 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.

Now the talented Newcastle trainer has the opportunity again at the annual meeting to snare a feature race in his own right with the smart sprinter Hard To Say.

Deamer, who does a terrific job with a boutique stable, has the Exceed and Excel four-year-old in two events, but is favoring the $1m Magic Millions Snippets (1200m) on the mammoth 11-race program.

Hard To Say is chasing five wins in a row, and his regular rider Ash Morgan heads north to continue a successful association with the gelding.

Morgan has been aboard Hard To Say – a $160,000 purchase for Dynamic Syndications as Lot 513 at the 2021 Magic Millions yearling sale – in four of his career victories, including his last three in a row.

Deamer initially had intended to go to The Gong metropolitan meeting at Kembla Grange on November 25 after Hard To Say had extended his “picket fence” to four in landing the Choisir Handicap (an 1100m Benchmark 100) at Royal Randwick on November 7.

The Warra winner Insurrection had run fourth to Hard To Say in the Randwick race.

“We scratched from Kembla Grange when the track was heavy, which he doesn’t like,” Deamer explained today.

“So we gave him a short break and aimed for the Gold Coast.”

Hard To Say warmed up for a tilt at the Snippets by comfortably winning an 800m barrier trial, with Morgan in the saddle, on the Beaumont track last Friday.

“I was very happy with his trial as the Beaumont was heavy, but he needed a hitout before going to the Magic Millions meeting,” Deamer explained.

“The only time Hard To Say has raced on a heavy track was as a two-year-old when sixth at Rosehill Gardens in November, 2021 at only his second start.”

From 16 starts, Hard To Say has earned his ladies’ syndicate of owners just over $472,000, and can more than double that by winning the Snippets as $579,700 is on offer as first prize.

Since the Lovely Jubly days – the grey of course subsequently produced the brilliant sprinter Chautauqua during her now retired career at stud – Deamer has had only a couple of starters at the Magic Millions carnival.

He ran seventh with $61 chance Decroux (a former Dynamic horse) in the MM Trophy (2400m) in 2021, and Hard To Say was an $11 chance last year when fourth to Junqueira in a 3YO Handicap (1200m) on the first day of the two-day meeting.

Obviously, he is an even better horse now as a four-year-old, being unbeaten in all four starts this season (and also two trials).

Deamer will follow a similar routine with Hard To Say, floating him overnight on Thursday to the Gold Coast, where he is housed with former Newcastle trainer Mel Eggleston.

“Hard To Say has become a regular visitor to Queensland, and Mel has his stable ready for him again,” Deamer said.

Whilst the new Gold Coast track was rated in the heavy range this morning, Deamer understandably is hoping for sunny and warm weather over the next few days to ensure his gelding’s favourite good surface.

Story John Curtis, January 9, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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