Stable star in top form

Robert Linnell describes himself as Riddells Creek’s only horse trainer, and he’s really pleased with the recent purple patch of form shown by stable star Keep The Magic.
It’s often hard to win a race, but the well bred nine year-old chalked up three successive victories – starting at long odds each time – before running third at Kyneton on Friday. Each time Flemington-based jockey Juana Andreou was on board.
“They seem to have an affinity,” Linnell said, pleased with the way the sprinter he and wife Margaret own ran in the L&G Sheppard & Sons BM58 Handicap over 1112m.
“He should run well,” he predicted before the race, although some speedy gallopers were engaged. Keep The Magic was an outsider in the market at $21.
Andreou settled Keep The Magic back in the field and he ran on well in the straight to finish third, behind the well fancied Swan Hill runner Soweto Haze and Fast And Furious.
They both had the advantage of 3kg claiming apprentices, with Madison Lloyd riding the winner
Andreau suggested Keep The Magic may be worth running in a 1400m event next start.
The galloper’s three wins in a row began at Deniliquin on October 19m and continued at St Arnaud a week later. The third success was in a Cranbourne night meeting on November 5.
All were by very close margins, much to the delight of his owners.
Keep The Magic has a record of eight wins and 11 minor placings from 76 starts, and prizemoney topping over $77,000.
While Kyneton is listed as Linnell’s home track, he admits he hasn’t had much luck there over the years.
He trains a small team on his own circuit at the seven-acre Windinia Lodge property at Riddells Creek, with around five in work at a time.
With a record of 114 winners as a trainer, including six in the city, Linnell is always hoping to find a super star – the elusive dream.
Originally a pastry cook , Linnell played VFA football with Sandringham and Oakleigh, and later coached.
Always interested in racehorses, he decided to move to a country area from Springvale nearly 30 years ago, and doesn’t regret choosing Riddells Creek. Margaret (nee Ryan) grew up on a farm at Willowmavin, riding a pony to school and also being keen on horses.
They breed and buy gallopers, and daughter Rebecca, a nurse, rides trackwork at home, while son Jason also helps out.
Their horses usually have a spell over the winter months.

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