Trainer Lee Freedman was understandably thrilled with Malaguerra’s performance for success in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) over the weekend, and revealed the horse will likely enter the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) as a next point of call in June.
Malaguerra drifted in betting markets for the Doomben feature in the hours leading up to jump, but did his chances of success no harm whatsoever when jumping well and taking a position on the rails, within the classy field.
Rounding onto the straight on the fence and appearing to be blocked for a run, veteran hoop Glen Colless threaded the needle with the son of Magnus; locking in a fierce late sprint battle with Dothraki but poking a nose clear on the line.
Freedman told Racing Ahead the horse runs very well fresh, and will likely only take his place in a barrier trial leading into the 2016 Stradbroke Handicap.
“He’s a little horse that has come up through the grades, has reached the top of the tree now and has done a great job,” Freedman said.
“He’s a very plain little horse, but I would have imagined he would have been a pretty plain little yearling but they saw something in him and now he’s been gelded, his form has just been turned into picket fences almost.
“He ate right up last night, but he knows he’s had a race and it was tough race in pretty quick time.
“Knowing his capabilities fresh, he was on about a five week break on Saturday and I may not run him again before the Stradbroke.
“It’s three weeks on Saturday, so we probably won’t run him again and just find a trial for him in between.”
Malaguerra was the first Group 1 winner for Freedman and brother Anthony since the pair joined in a training partnership in late 2014.
“We’ve been knocking on the door, we got just tipped out in the Toorak and the Sir Rupert Clark in spring, and third in the Caulfield Cup, but to get one up on Saturday was great,” Freedman added.
Malaguerra returned to racing this time for consecutive wins in the Listed Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) and Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m), but failed to make anything of an impact in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) in his only other start prior to the BTC Cup.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early 2016 Stradbroke Handicap odds, for which Malaguerra can be taken at a quote of $9 for success.