Jockey Shaun McGruddy reckons Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic contender Ex Sport Man displays similar traits to Watch Me Dance.
With Watch Me Dance considered one of Western Australia’s most promising horses, it’s a glowing endorsement.
After a hat trick of placings in major two-year-old races including the rich Karrakatta Plate (1200m), Watch Me Dance broke through for victory in the Group 3 WA Sires’ Produces Stakes (1400m).
As a three-year-old he claimed the Group 3 Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) in courageous fashion on a bog track before knocking the boys over in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) seven days later.
He has won five races and been placed on another five occasions from 12 career starts for just a tick over $800,000 in prizemoney.
Although a relative newcomer to racing, McGruddy has a good opinion of Ex Sport Man and believes the Playing God gelding has a bright future in front of him.
“The way he races he very much reminds of Watch Me Dance,” McGruddy told The Races WA.
“He is an exciting horse who will be better as a three-year-old and over 1400m and a mile.
“I’m pretty confident he could end up having a pretty similar CV to Watch Me Dance.”
Ex Sport Man has started two times but showed he was getting close to a win after a fast-finishing second to Sniparoochy, beaten a head, over 1200m at Ascot in January.
It followed another runner-up placing behind Sniparoochy at Bunbury when on debut for trainer Steve Wolfe.
McGruddy said Ex Sport Man had taken giant strides between his first and second runs.
“It’s been the improvement that has impressed me a lot,” McGruddy said.
“It’s given me huge confidence that he can run a huge race.
“I think the 1200m will better for Ex Sport Man than Sniparoochy.”
After being installed the $2.60 favourite, Sniparoochy has tightened to $2.30.
Michelada is at $5 and Ex Sport Man $6, firming from $9.50.
Heavenly Waters ($9) and Sneaky Chance ($9) are the other runners in single figures.
Bragging rights is also on the line for McGruddy in the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m).
If successful, he becomes the most prolific rider of the restricted Listed event.
He can go past Pat Carbery and Paul Harvey after guiding home Wolfe Dreams (2009), The River (2016) and Lucy Mae (2017).