Network (channel) 7 Chief Executive Tim Worner attending the Magic Millions horse race on the Gold Coast. Photo by Andrew Hornery
Celebrities, Olympic legends, royalty by association, billionaires and, well, wannabes: it was a veritable smorgasbord of guests who turned up at the Gold Coast on Saturday for the Magic Millions $10 million race day, the jewel in a week of thoroughbred horse action.
Magic Millions owner Katie Page declared it was the best sales ever, confidently predicting results will be at least $20 million above last year’s figures, with around $165 million worth of horse flesh going under the hammer.
“The global economy is back, we have many of our old buyers coming again from across and around the world, but this year we have seen a lot of new money pouring in, from places like South Korea, China and Malaysia,” Page told PS.
However it was an American, billionaire media magnate John Kelly, who shelled out a staggering $2 million – the highest figure for a yearling in 10 years of sales at the Magic Millions – for a colt by leading Hunter Valley stallion I am Invincible.
But it was the thoroughbreds of the two-legged variety who were drawing the most attention at the Gold Coast on Saturday as temperatures soared, and fascinators wilted.
Channel Seven chief executive Tim Worner made a rare public appearance, nearly two years after the sex scandal which engulfed the television executive. He was accompanied by media heir Ryan Stokes and his wife Claire Campbell, who have just celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
However, a late scratching from the giant celebrity marquee was Zara Phillips, an ambassador of the Magic Millions, who was “ordered” by Page to stay in bed after coming down with a bout of gastro.
At four months pregnant, Phillips, the Queen’s second grandchild, was keeping her daughter Mia company while her husband, the former English rugby star Mike Tindall, managed to make an appearance.
John Singleton and his American girlfriend Vanessa Merrin were in high spirits, Singleton welcoming his fourth grandchild to the world last week after daughter Sally gave birth to her first baby: a boy.
Page and her husband, Gerry Harvey, have taken delivery of their own “baby” in recent days: a glamorous new beach house on the Gold Coast’s Main Beach. A multi-storey compound where the couple are hosting friends and family, filled with designer furniture from around the world and designed by leading architect Virginia Kerridge, the pad has become known as “Katie’s Beach house”.
Olympic legend Dawn Fraser brought her grandson Jackson to the races with her, the pair finding cool respite by a fan in the corner of the marquee where the swimmer told PS she was about to re-enter the pool, having recovered from shoulder surgery a year ago.
Fraser has become part of the racing industry herself after Singleton gave her a share in a horse, Our Dawn, as a gift for her 80th birthday last September. The horse has been racing in Gosford and is yet to have a win, but Fraser said hopes were high it could be the next Black Caviar.
“Age is just a number, you’ve got to keep on going, I’m still playing sport and keeping myself active … it’s better than the alternative,” she joked.
Model Jesinta Campbell and her Sydney Swans footballer husband Lance “Buddy” Franklin revealed they have been working on a secret project.
And no, it’s not a baby, but rather a business venture into which the pair have been pouring their combined resources and which is set to materialise in coming weeks.