Celebrities including former NRL star Billy Slater gather on Surfers Paradise beach for the Magic Millions beach race.
Celebrities including former NRL star Billy Slater gather on Surfers Paradise beach for the Magic Millions beach race.

Model overshadows Billy Slater’s bromance with polo star

RUGBY league legend Billy Slater and Argentine polo star Nacho Figueras were among the riders thundering along the beach and through the surf on the Gold Coast on Tueasday morning.

But what has become a highly publicised bromance between the two sports stars was overshadowed by the fact  Nacho's model wife Delfina Blacquier beat them both down the beach.

"I had to give Billy a bit of a head start," joked Nacho. "I don't know if you saw me but I was coming along at the back."

Delfina had a different explanation for her turbo-charged performance at the head of the pack: "They were sleeping."

For his part retired Melbourne Storm and Queensland State of Origin captain Slater said Delfina clearly thought she was racing for a trophy.

"I had a slow horse," he joked.

"Really to canter along the beach on a horse is something special," he added.

They were joined by a roll call of Australia's top jockeys including Tommy Berry, Kathy O'Hara and Corey Brown for the ride ahead of the barrier draw for Saturday's $10 million Magic Millions race day.

Zara and Mike Tindall join celebrities on the Gold Coast beach.
Zara and Mike Tindall join celebrities on the Gold Coast beach.

The ride along the beach is the showpiece for the launch of The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions yearling sales, which start on Wednesday after a VIP reception on the beach on Tuesday night.

The sales attract some of the biggest names - and wallets - in international horse racing to Australia and last year $170 million worth of yearlings went under the hammer.

Magic Millions co-owner Katie Page said: "Every year it gets bigger. When we started this we had two horses riding along the beach and now we have 22.

"We have thousands of people here. This goes around the world - it's so good for Queensland and for Australia."

She said she had hosted a dinner for international buyers the night before.

Mike and Zara Phillips have to head back to England earlier than usual. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Mike and Zara Phillips have to head back to England earlier than usual. Picture: Nigel Hallett

"They were all getting calls from people in the UK saying it is snowing over there and they want to be on the beach with us," she said

Watching on the sand was the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall and her former English rugby player husband Mike, who has six horses up for auction this week.

"It is just an incredible thing to be part of," Mrs Tindall said.

Their trip Down Under this year is shorter than those of previous years because they have to get home to their children Mia, 4, and Lena, seven months.

"Mia started school yesterday, we had to leave her there (in the UK)," she said, before adding that the plane trip over had been pleasantly quiet as a result.

Mr and Mrs Tindall assisted with the barrier draw for Saturday's $2 million The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic and three-year-old Guineas after the beach run.

The race day is the culmination of The Star Gold Coast Magic Millions Carnival, which began with a celebrity-packed polo match on Sunday.

It is aimed at encouraging more women into racing with extra prizemoney for horses that are solely owned by women.

News Corp Australia


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