He is the favourite for this winter’s Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane, but jockey Blake Shinn believes his mount in Saturday’s 2016 All Aged Stakes in Sydney Malaguerra will be tested by the youngsters in the weight-for-age feature.
In an eight-starter field for this year’s $600,000 Group 1 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m), there is a trio of three-year-olds out to join Atlantic Jewel (2012) and All Too Hard (2013) as the recent youngsters to beat home their older rivals in the Royal Randwick feature.
Last Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, Dissident (2015) became the first four-year-old to win the All Aged Stakes since Shamekha (2005), and Malaguerra will be out to go back-to-back for the age group this weekend with Shinn in the saddle.
The flying Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Magnus gelding has won all four of his starts dating back to Melbourne Cup Day last November, including his two runs this campaign.
The first was the Listed Bob Hoystead Stakes (100m) down the Flemington straight before his trip to Sydney on March 26 to win Rosehill’s Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) by over a length with Shinn aboard.
Malaguerra put in a classy late effort to win the Group 3 last time out, needing every metre of the race to get through from behind the leader and steal the show.
“My heart was in my mouth the whole way but when he got out he put the race away very quickly,” Shinn said of the Star Kingdom run.
“He was always travelling like he was going to explode so all he needed was half an opening.”
Shinn is yet to ride an All Aged Stakes winner, while co-trainer Lee Freedman has won one with Flying Spur back in 1996 two decades ago.
Leading All Aged Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au this autumn at $3.50 is one of the three-year-olds in the line-up, Chris Waller’s Caulfield Guineas winner Press Statement.
Press Statement has run top three in all three of his runs this campaign including the brave last start third behind the world’s best Winx in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on March 19.
He has been freshened-up since and is a gun over the 1400m with two wins from three previous starts over the distance he’s back at on Saturday with one of the carnival’s best Hugh Bowman booked for the ride.
Shinn has plenty of respect for Press Statement as well as Gai Waterhouse’s classy filly English ($4.60), Waterhouse chasing her fifth All Aged Stakes success.
A daughter of Encosta De Lago, English returned off a year long spell to win the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick before her The Galaxy sixth and a last start third to super sprinter Chautauqua in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 2.
Shinn was aboard English in the TJ Smith Stakes, so knows what he and the market mover Malaguerra ($4.60 into $4.20) are up against in the All Aged Stakes.
“Press Statement has formlines behind Winx and English has got formlines behind Chautauqua and they are arguably the two who will be the hardest to beat,” Shinn told the media this week.
“Press Statement has formlines behind Winx and English has got formlines behind Chautauqua and they are arguably the two who will be the hardest to beat.”
As for the horse’s chances of winning Queensland’s richest race when the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) runs at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 11, Shinn said more will be known after the All Aged Stakes.
“We’ll know a lot more but it’s exciting to be riding him because he is building up a great record,” he said.
To back Malaguerra in the All Aged Stakes this weekend and during his possible Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival bid, make sure you’ve got an account open online at Ladbrokes.com.au!