Les Ross enjoying best year with Mike Crooks as the pair aim to have at least three runners in the Magic Millions

Les Ross enjoying best year with Mike Crooks as the pair aim to have at least three runners in the Magic Millions
  • PublishedDecember 9, 2023

Karaoke singer-turned-trainer Les Ross was preparing to do a “Steven Bradbury” in Saturday’s Phelan Ready Stakes against $1.10 hotpot Spywire but it’s no longer needed after his shock scratching left the Mishani trainer with half of the four-horse field.

In incredible scenes, just four will greet the starter in the key $200,000 Magic Millions lead-up where Ross is looking to have at least three runners in the $3m January feature.

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Ross has attempted to retire from racing a number of times, but it is his connection to larrikin owner Mike Crooks that keeps him coming back and said winning the Magic Millions in January could be enough to send him off into the sunset.

The pair famously linked up after Crooks plucked Ross out of his pub where he was a karaoke singer and have formed a formidable combination that underpins Queensland’s two-year-old racing.

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“It’s Mike Crooks that keeps me around, if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing,” Ross said.

“I reckon we will get three in the (Magic Millions), the best year we have had is three with an emergency, but this is our best year so far on the track, it is just a matter of the right ones winning (Magic Millions qualified).

“If we were to win a Millions, I’d say that’d be enough.

“That’s the ultimate for us, we do two-year-olds and that is our two-year-old race.”

Les Ross will have half of the four-horse field on Saturday. Picture: Natasha Wood/Trackside Photography

Les Ross will have half of the four-horse field on Saturday. Picture: Natasha Wood/Trackside Photography

Ross has been training for Crook for almost a decade now and has recently made the move to a private training facility which he says rivals any in the country.

The pair are happy to take on the David v Goliath model, with Ross laughing at Spywire’s $525,000 pricetag prior to his scratching.

“We had 39 (two-year-olds) and it cost us $150,000 in service fees in total, the $500,000 thing that was favourite was a cheapie for them too,” he laughed.

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“We would have been lucky to beat that expensive thing.

“There’s always the chance of doing the Bradbury, so that is what we are always after.”

While Crooks shows no signs of slowing down, Ross is looking to get others involved in the training aspect to fully use his new facility.

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“Next year I am hoping to get the girl on the farm, Donna, and my daughter involved and going three ways in a partnership and letting them take some more responsibility,” he said.

“We are doing half in town and half on the farm, it is as good as any farm in Queensland and he keeps putting into it.

“He is putting in a big hill track so we can take them and canter them up the hill, it will be as good as any facility and get the older horses rock-hard fit.”

Mishani Explorer is a $2.30 favourite for the Phelan Ready on Saturday following Spywire’s scratching, while Mishani Hercules is a $5 chance in the four-horse field.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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