Magic Millions is familiar to most of us for its Yearling Sales, with famous trainers like Gai Waterhouse and Peter Moody browsing for their future stars. Highlights include the Race Series such as the Magic Millions Cup with $1 million prizemoney, the Beach Race barrier draw on the Gold Coast sands that is beamed around the world for its uniqueness, and celebrities playing polo, Fashions on the Field and even royalty attending. Zara Tindall, the Queen’s granddaughter, is an ambassador for the event, along with Rugby League superstar Billy Slater, newly appointed coach of the Maroons.
The event is much more than a day; it is an annual carnival that this year ran from 5-18 January, where an inaugural invitational showjumping event was incorporated with the traditional Sunday Polo Day. In mid-2021, George Sanna and Amber Fuller spoke of the possibility of such an event with Magic Millions co-owner, Katie Page-Harvey, and so the idea grew from there.
Like everything to do with Magic Millions, Katie wanted it staged at the “highest level,” and along with James Hetherington they certainly managed to achieve that. The perfect location choice was Doug Jennings Park on The Spit, right in the heart of Surfers Paradise. The polo field and showjumping arena shared the space with plenty of infrastructure providing a VIP area with a sit-down meal for 350 guests, a Pacific Fair Pavilion, beer garden, live music, food trucks, plenty of picnic tables and lots of shady spots for the 3000-4000 strong crowd that enjoyed the incredible atmosphere.
Being the first major jumping event of 2022 and offering huge prizemoney, many of the nation’s top showjumpers were in attendance. There were two jumping competitions: a Junior jump-off class with an $8,000 prize pool and a Senior Teams event with a huge $92,000 on offer. The teams were each assigned names by Magic Millions from the companies that were supporting them, such as Outback Spectacular, The Star Gold Coast and Tourism Events Queensland — and then team members were drawn randomly from a hat.
The juniors started the day in the event sponsored by Coolmore Australia on the course built by international course designer Graeme Watts. In the second-round jump-off, it looked like Emily Lang-McMahon on Glenara Mudslide had done enough going clear and fast. The Queenslander was almost celebrating when the young local rider Cody Ticknell on Continue went around in a thriller clear and very fast to take out the Junior title. Emily and Glenara Mudslide were second and Alexandra Inglis of NSW, on Diamond B Babybelle, were third. It was a wonderful morning for Cody’s supportive family all sitting ringside.
With the sky perfectly blue, it was the ideal time to have a wander, take a few selfies, do some celebrity spotting and enjoy an Aperol Spritz before the Seniors were underway. There were 32 riders in total in eight corporate sponsored teams. Some riders had travelled from as far as Victoria to join the NSW and local riders. The track was challenging, and in the end just six of the 32 achieved clear rounds; only one team achieved more than one clear, being the all-female team of Godolphin Lifetime Care. They finished the round on just 4 faults, the winning score.