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Stefi out to emulate mum in Stradbroke

No horse engaged in this year's Stradbroke Handicap can boast a family connection to the race like Stefi Magnetica. The Bjorn Baker-trained filly is by All Too Hard, who never raced in Queensland, but is from a mare who etched her name into Stradbroke history just over a decade ago.

Mid Summer Music won the 2012 Stradbroke, which broke a 76-year drought for mares in Queensland's most famous race.

Stefi Magnetica would be added to the select group of horses to win the same Group 1 as their mother if she wins Saturday's $3 million event at Eagle Farm, but it would be drawing a long bow to say it was a distinction she always seemed destined for.

She is the fifth foal from Mid Summer Music, who has spent most of her post-racing days at Cressfield, and operations manager at that famed Hunter Valley nursery, Liesl Wickson, said Stefi Magnetica was cut from the same cloth as her mother, an unobtrusive daughter of Oamaru Force.

"Mid Summer Music isn't a mare that stands out in the paddock as a magnificent type, she is on the smaller side and is slight in frame," Wickson said. "Her foals have all been typically like her; plain bays mostly, not particularly forward.

"While there is never anything inherently wrong with them, they are just never types that take your breath away. I often describe them as being a bit forgettable — you'll walk out of the paddock and they won't be the one you remember.

"However, the mare has an uncanny ability to throw you a saleable yearling, year after year with pristine x-rays and good scopes. Combined with her toughness, she has become one of our better producers."

The Stradbroke was the high point of a 31-start, 11-win career for Mid Summer Music, which kicked off with a Warracknabeal maiden win.

She sold for $300,000 at the 2013 National Broodmare Sale at the conclusion of her racing career and visited All Too Hard in her first season, producing six-time winner See It Thru.

Second foal Fast Summer Rock (Fastnet Rock) won one of five starts, but she then produced Euphoric Summer (Not A Single Doubt), who won a Magic Millions Ballarat Classic and was twice stakes-placed, and Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes winner Hellfest (Fastnet Rock).

A trip to Merchant Navy in 2018 failed to realise a foal before she returned to All Too Hard for what was the mating that produced Stefi Magnetica, which confirmed Mid Summer Music as an ideal match for the son of Casino Prince.

"On an individual level, Mid Summer Music was a fabulously tough, sound racemare, winning at the top level as a seven-year-old [and] All Too Hard will consistently throw good-boned, sound stock," Wickson said of the rising 19-year-old, who is again in-foal to All Too Hard.

"I think the mating gets you perhaps not the best-looking animal but a sound athlete with a tough will to win, and that is always going to work."

Jim Clarke and Cunningham Thoroughbreds teamed up with Baker to buy Stefi Magnetica for $140,000 at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale and her racing career boasts a similar grassroots feel to her mother.

Her first win came in an 1100m race at Wellington, while her only other success has been in a 1010m Benchmark 58 at Orange.

Just four starts later, however, she finished runner-up in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) and stamped her Stradbroke claims with an eye-catching fifth placing in the weight-for-age Group 1 Doomben 10,000.

She rounded out her Stradbroke preparations with a third placing in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) and will have the services of apprentice jockey Zac Lloyd under just 50kg in the Stradbroke, for which she is a $12 chance.

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