Brenton Avdulla has narrow escape from stewards as Wyong Magic Millions in focus

Near miss: Brenton Avdulla bagged an early treble at Warwick Farm. Photo: bradleyphotos南京夜网南京夜生活NSW premiership leader Brenton Avdulla can further Chris Waller’s hopes of a first Magic Millions success after stewards admitted they were hoping the state’s hottest jockey won a controversial photo finish that prevented a serious charge at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.
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Avdulla, who will be legged aboard Madame Moustache in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Classic on Thursday, bagged a quartet of winners at Warwick Farm that had him under the microscope of stipes for his riding late on Good Time Charlie, the second leg of his four-timer.

Fearing Joe Pride’s three-year-old was shifting ground over the final metres, Avdulla’s vigour relented for a “stride and a half” as Good Time Charlie had just a half-head to spare in a photo from the fast-finishing Gauguin wide out on the track.

“Watching the race live we were hoping the photo finish would go your way,” acting chief steward Phillip Dingwall told Avdulla. “All’s well that ends well.”

Avdulla explained to stewards he could hear yelling behind him and was concerned a runner might have been to his outside, but Dingwall said there wasn’t a rival within “cooee” and his explanation “wouldn’t be a successful defence against a charge and you’re fortunate you got the bob in”.

“I didn’t go 100 per cent on him because I could feel him shifting,” Avdulla said while explaining the horse was hanging the entire race.

The in-form hoop had earlier ridden Waller’s Oklahoma Girl to victory in the first race and will be hoping the winning combination can be preserved for 24 hours on Madame Moustache, who is already a Saturday metropolitan winner in Sydney.

Subsequent Golden Slipper and Magic Millions hero Capitalist won the Wyong race en route to the Gold Coast last year when beating Niccolance, who was the first big money-spinning ride for then apprentice Koby Jennings.

Jennings has been booked for Gary Portelli’s smart trialist Single Bullet ($5.50), who is on the third line of betting behind Madeenaty ($2.10).

“It was really good to stick with Niccolance until then and it was the first horse I had ridden that was in the market [in a big race],” Jennings said.

“[Single Bullet] is a laid-back bugger and he showed a lot more [last] Saturday morning because he worked alongside Falconic.

“He looks really sharp, but on [Tuesday] morning he just did his own thing before a horse came up alongside him and then gave me a good feel.

“He feels like a natural speedy two-year-old and a few of his workers have had a bit of an opinion of him.”

Meanwhile, Tony Hodgson has been appointed deputy chairman of Racing NSW as the governing body prepares for boss John Messara’s retirement at the end of the month.

Acting racing minister David Elliott extended Hodgson’s term by another three years and elevated him into the role, which was previously occupied by Russell Balding who will take over from Messara.

“During his tenure on the board Mr Hodgson has played a significant role in helping establish the Championships, a destination event to reinvigorate the Sydney autumn carnival as the state’s premier racing event, increasing prize money to over $200 million per year and introducing stronger integrity measures,” Elliott said.