Jason Magri is beginning to make a habit of ‘firsts’. Not just the firsts, as in winning races, but yet again on Friday night at Wentworth Park, the Kemps Creek trainer was at it again, achieving something he had not previously done.
He has had a number of placings in Group 1 events – notably Clock’s Ticking behind Shima Bar in the 2017 Paws Of Thunder, Korvette behind Lend Us Fifty in the 2008 Peter Mosman, and Bad Boy Sniper, beaten by Fernando Bale in the 2015 National Derby, but finally it was his night, with King Cratos winning Magri’s first Group 1 in the 2020 Ladbrokes Paws Of Thunder Final.
“It feels really good to break the duck. It feels awesome,” Magri said after the victory over cult hero Feral Franky.
“I ran second (in this race) probably three years ago to Tom Dailly (Shima Bar) with a dog called Clock’s Ticking and tonight I finally cracked it.”
The Group 1 success caps a remarkable month for Magri.
On the final week of December last year he trained four winners at the Bulli meeting, the first time he had ever achieved the feat.
Just four days later he trained four winners at Wentworth Park, again the first time he had ever trained four on a card at headquarters.
And then, 10 days later, his trio of Zipping Sultan, Zipping Miranda and Zipping Zeek, filled the trifecta in the final of The NSW Bred Maiden series at Wentworth Park.
“We are going good. We have got a good team of dogs and everything is going fine. I just hope it keeps going,” Magri said.
King Cratos jumped well and carved across from his box eight draw to position up behind the leader Caishen.
He chased that dog tenaciously up the back and moved alongside Caishen on the top turn, eventually overhauling the leader swinging for home, and holding off Feral Franky to claim the win in 29.64s, the fastest he has ever run at Wentworth Park.
“On the home turn I thought he was actually going to run out of gas,” Magri explained. “He had worked pretty hard, but he got away from the leader (Caishen), and ow kicked. The red (Feral Franky) came late but he held him off. It was really tough win and as you can see, he’s run time,” Magri said.
It was only four months ago that Magri thought King Cratos may never race again.
He had been racing in great form and even had a victory over Million Dollar Chase winner Good Odds Harada at Wentworth Park to his credit, but he suffered a bad tear in his hip muscle. The injury not only meant he would miss the Million Dollar Chase series, but his entire career was in jeopardy.
Magri gave the dog four months off, the injury mended, and he is undefeated in three runs since resuming.