Malandrino No Certainty for 2012 Rough Habit Plate

Talented New Zealand three-year-old Malandrino is no certainty to line up in Saturday’s Group 3 2012 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben despite being named in the final field today.

Trainer Murray Baker is waiting to hear on a sales deal in Hong Kong that if finalised before the weekend will see the Darci Brahma gelding withdrawn from Saturday’s $125,000 event.

Baker said he should know either way by tomorrow but if he does start, the Manawatu Classic winner is expected to produce a good showing.

If he does line up in Saturday’s race he will be ridden by boom Kiwi jockey James McDonald who has labelled the youngster as the horse to beat.

“Whoever beats him, wins the race,” McDonald said on Sky Racing HQ.

“I’ve got that high opinion of the horse. I think he’ll just win on Saturday.”

McDonald was in the saddle for both his most recent starts including the Group 3 Manawatu Classic which he won by a dominant two lengths ahead of fellow Rough Habit Plate starter Poste Restante.

Back in Australia after winning Sha Tin’s The BMW Champions Mile on board Xtension, McDonald is excited about riding the New Zealand up-and-comer on the opening day of the Brisbane Winter Carnival.

“He’s an outstanding galloper of the future,” McDonald said.

“I think he’s a rising star come spring time, especially if he can tak that next step this Brisbane Carnival.

“He’s awesome, I can’t wait.”

Sixteen horses were today named in the final Rough Habit Plate field including promising John Thompson-trained gelding Isopach, Gunsynd Classic winner Trump and Peter Moody-trained Brambles.

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