Pint-sized mare wins on debut for Brad Millard

By Duane Ranger (courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)

The beautifully natured, tiny little pacer with the parrot mouth, and dubious legs, made an eye-catching debut at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday afternoon (February 8).

The Brad Millard trained and driven Vikander, who stands at around 14 hands high, hasn’t had it easy in life. A parrot mouth (overbite, undershot jaw) means the little lady can only eat long grass, or be hand-fed. The wee pacer nicknamed ‘Maxy’, has also broken down twice – hence the reason for making her long-waited debut as a 6-year-old.

“I absolutely love her. She’s still a bit of a baby, and has such a beautiful nature with it. In fact, her family have all been so good to work with. She is a credit to my mother, late father, and Uncle Neil (Coy). My Uncle bred Vikander’s mother – Jaylo Enigma – to be a broodmare. Dad raced her and won four times with her.

Brad and Sarah Millard just moments after Vikander won on debut at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday (February 8). DAN COSTELLO PHOTO.

“I got a flood of messages of congratulations from family and friends does make winning feel special as well, I think even more so for me since Dad’s passing. Even other trainers and drivers at the meeting like Lola Weidemann, Peter McKay, Dayl and Richard March went out of their way to congratulate me and that was very nice.

“Peter Greig, who I hold in high esteem, trained the third pace getter in the race, said I drove her perfectly, and coming from him that was a highlight as well. Very gratifying,” Warwick-based Millard said.

The 6-year-old Mach Three mare finished last after galloping at her debut education trial at Marburg in April 2022 before breaking down a second time due to Tendon problems. She then finished second at her next education trial at Albion Park on December 19, 2023, before running sixth and fourth at her official qualifying trials.

“Then she won before winning race one on Thursday. Dayl March will not like me saying this, but when she finished second in her education trail this preparation, she was safety held by a little 2-year-old that he has named Our Sweet Jess. So, judging by how well Vikander went on Thursday, she maybe one to keep an eye out when she makes her debut,” Millard said.

Brad Millard with his favorite horse – Vikander’s older half-sister Paquin, alongside sons Blake and Ryan Millard.

Millard situated Vikander third early from gate two, and then they were in the one-one, and then two-back and one-out before he asked the diminutive mare for an effort. She responded well to loop the field and then run away to win by an increasing 7.1 metres.

Vikander paced the 1,780m mobile in 2:12.9 (mile rate 2:00.2) with 30, 30.8, 29.9, and 30.8 sectionals. She the $6, third favourite.

It was Millard’s third training success since he took out his licence in 2022, and ninth driving triumph since 2014-2015.

“Redcliffe has been good to me. That was my seventh driving win on the track. To be honest though, I wouldn’t be training at all if it wasn’t for Dad’s influence, and my favourite all-time pacer, Vikander’s older sister – Paquin.

The Warwick-based Millard family – Blake, Brad, Sarah, and Ryan.

“I’d had Paquin since day one. She was my favourite horse ever, and the only reason I carried on with Vikander. Paquin was also beautifully natured. I’ll never forget winning two races behind her at Marburg. Hopefully her little sister can win more than three races,” said Millard.

Paquin, a 2011 three-win Mr Aviator mare, is the second foal out of the 1998 four-win Ringleader mare, Jaylo Enigma. Vikander is her third and final foal, while foal number one was the 2006 Partywiththebigdog nine-win mare, Jazz Party Enigma.

Brad and Sarah Millard at rear with Blake, the late David Millard (Dad), Shirley Millard (Mum), and Ryan.

“Jaylo Enigma has been a wonderful broodmare and it was quite upsetting to lose the only Mr Feelgood colt that died with 2 weeks of foaling. Each of her three live filly foals has now won a race. Vikander is no superstar, but she hasn’t had it easy – but in saying that I still think she can win a few more”.

“She felt really nice the other day. Mind you she is beautifully gaited and beautifully natured and I half expected her to go okay. She’s getting stronger with each run. I’ll line her up again at Redcliffe in a couple of weeks,” Millard said.

Vikander is a credit to my Uncle Neil,” his nephew said.

So, who is Brad Millard? Copy and paste to find out:

Photo Finish
A near-perfect drive from Brad Millard ensured an easy debut victory in the opening event at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday afternoon (February 8).

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