The Magic Millions Guineas could be on the agenda for West Of Africa after the Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Fung Family Investments-owned colt scored on his three-year-old debut.
Trainer Annabel Neasham nominated the $2 million race as a possible target after watching her charge score at Warwick Farm. The son of Not A Single Doubt was a winning debutant in March and bounced back to form with a performance that promised much more to come in his sophomore campaign.
However, it wasn’t a straightforward win and jockey Chad Schofield needed to produce a “super steer”. The field broke in a strong line from the barriers, with West Of Africa initially caught a little further back than ideal. Without asking for too much exertion, Schofield patiently moved his partner into the vanguard where the pair could track the pace. Horse and rider were perfectly placed as the leaders entered the turn for home and the flashy chestnut quickly responded to his jockey’s urgings at the top of the straight. It took a while for West Of Africa to best the long-time leaders but once in front, and he proved a tough ut to crack and held off several fast-finishing challengers.
“He was frustrating in the Winter Carnival,” Neasham said post-race. “He won his maiden at Newcastle and we thought he was our JJ Atkins horse. He just didn’t quite put it together up there, so we gave him a break and he’s probably paid us back for that. He’s come back a stronger three-year-old and that was a nice positive ride from Chad.
“He’s back in t the right time and hopefully he can head to the Magic Millions three-year-old race. We’ve always had a high opinion of him and we’ve just had to be a bit more patient than we wanted to be with him, but hopefully, that’s paid off.”