Jim Clarke (left) and trainer Bjorn Baker celebrate Unencumbered's 2014 Magic Millions victory at the Gold Coast.
Jim Clarke (left) and trainer Bjorn Baker celebrate Unencumbered's 2014 Magic Millions victory at the Gold Coast. Harry Clarke

Everyone seems to buy in to Magic Millions concept

I'M ALL for the promotion of horse racing and when any particular racing event becomes big enough to provide a significant boost to the local economy, well, so much the better.

So the Magic Millions can take a bow in that respect.

But after the final curtain call on the sales and race day, the MM executives must have a little bit of a giggle to themselves at just what they have been able to sell and how they have made their product so successful.

Make no mistake about it - Gerry Harvey and his team are super salesman, and good luck to them.

A race day that is open only to graduates of the MM sales ring - for those owners who have pockets deep enough to meet MM sale purchase prices - will never meet with universal approval as its final exclusion rate is far greater than those who can participate.

A similar restriction would arguably be a roadblock in other forms of business, but over the years MM has sought and gained the rubber-stamp of approval from the best stud farms and the most high-profile of buyers, owners and trainers in the country, not to mention a host of international racing identities who come to dabble in bloodstock business and play in the week-long party in paradise.

And with the growing celebrity profile comes increased hype. Not quite brain-washing, but certainly a flood of overwhelmingly positive exposure that almost has most people believing the week is all things to all people.

Amazingly, MM has even managed to bring in a second restricted "race within a race" concept.

That is the Racing Woman's Bonus, where $500,000 is paid out (on top of the normal prizemoney) for the first four all-female owned horses to finish in the MM 2YO Classic - irrespective of where they finish.

That means they could finish fourth last, third last, second last and last and still go home with a pile of money.

MM trumpets the bonus as a success, claiming it brings more women into racing.

I'm not so sure about that.

I know in essence it is probably putting more women's names on the ownership forms. In fact, anybody who had a runner in the MM 2YO Classic yesterday who was not listed under an all-woman ownership should have a good re-think about how they play the MM game - but the point is this "gender based" concept could easily have been a contentious one.

Not so! The MM Woman's Bonus idea did a sales ring jig and was quickly accepted - going, going ... SOLD!

I guess if you own a company you are entitled to make your own rules and if you have a sales team that can deliver, you can even persuade the local racing authority to throw in some money and sign a seven-year deal to help make the 2016 MM race day the 10th biggest in the world in terms of prizemoney.

But is everything that is good for MM good for racing in the broader industry sense? Like I said, Gerry Harvey and his team are super salesman, and good luck to them.

You just have to be aware of what you are buying!

*Graham Potter is the managing editor of horseracingonly.com.au



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