The Hawkes-trained comeback galloper Maluckyday is not only out for the Geelong Cup win this afternoon but connections are also hoping to press onto the first Tuesday of November where the six-year-old will look to go one better than their second to Americain two years ago in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
Zabeel gelding Maluckyday enjoyed a sensational spring carnival back in 2010 which culminated with their second to French champion and that year’s Geelong Cup winner Americain in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse.
A career threatening bout of pneumonia and other setbacks saw them finish fourth or worse in all of their runs over the subsequent two seasons, Maluckyday spending over 20 of those months on the sidelines, before they finally looked to bounce back last start when running second to Tanby in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 6.
“It’s half a surprise really because he was so sick and had pneumonia,” co-trainer Wayne Hawkes said.
“We kept him at the stables at Flemington when he was sick because we thought we might as well be looking after him.
“He was just standing in the corner with his bum to the door and his head down and he looked like he was dying.
“To get him back and to see how he is going has blown me away because we always treated him like he was never going to return and he was retired.
“It was always going to be a chance he could return, but to finish second at Flemington the other day was as good as winning.”
The always honest galloper is already assured of a spot in the 24-horse 2012 Melbourne Cup field sitting 15th on the order of entry, but will need to prove they have the right form with a strong run in the $300,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) this afternoon.
“If you can’t be all but winning Geelong Cups you can’t be winning Melbourne Cups,” Hawkes said.
“There’s your line in the sand really.
“He’s doing everything right. He’s going into the Geelong Cup, it is only going to be a small field and it will sort us out where we are going with him.”
Drawn in gate three of seven with Jim Cassidy booked for the ride Maluckyday is currently paying $8 in the Geelong Cup odds which are led by French raider Brigantin ($2.80) and English hopeful Gatewood ($3.10).
As for the Melbourne Cup 2012 they are rated a $26 chance in the bookmaker.com.au markets for the world’s richest handicap which is some of the shortest odds on the local Melbourne Cup hopefuls.
“It (the Geelong Cup) will give us a good idea where we stand going into the Melbourne Cup because these stayers from over there are obviously the ones to beat,” Wayne’s father and co-trainer John Hawkes said.
“He has been going well but it is time for him to stand up and show he is back to where he was two years ago.
“He was a young horse when he ran in that Melbourne Cup and it was probably a bit soon for him.
“We thought he would have been a better horse the next year but then he got sick and I don’t think he has been the same since.
“It is hard to know what he might have done if he didn’t get pneumonia and what effect it is still having but he is there and will run a good race.”
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