Four year old Malaguerra remains the favourite for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11 even though he failed to run a place at Randwick last Saturday.
Early Stradbroke Handicap markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Malaguerra heading the betting at $4.60 just ahead of Victorian mare Azkadellia at $4.80 and the All Aged Stakes quinella of English and Black Heart Bart at $7.
The Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Malaguerra was sent out as one the main fancies for the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) on the second line of betting at $5 but struggled to make any impression at his first attempt at weight for age.
Malaguerra jumped well and Blake Shinn had the lead in the early stages of the race but handed it up at the 1000m to Tim Clark on Perignon.
From that point on the pace was muddling and Malaguerra was held up behind tiring horses in the early part of the straight.
Shinn was able to get Malaguerra into the clear half way down the straight but he wasn’t able to make any impression before finishing sixth, four and a half lengths behind the winner English.
Shinn admitted that it wasn’t his best ride on the Magnus four year old and that he should have held onto the lead mid-race.
“Not one of my best, I made a decision to hand up due to the fact I didn’t think I had the horse to keep vying for the lead and in hindsight it was the wrong move,” Shinn said.
Malaguerra had been working his way up through the classes and claimed his fourth win in succession when he took out the Group 3 $150,000 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26.
His winning run started during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with two wins at Flemington before resuming in the Autumn to win the Listed $120,000 ATA/Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on March 5.
All Aged Stakes winner English and runner up Black Heart Bart are also heading towards the Stradbroke Handicap and are prominent in the betting at $7 each.
English is racing in outstanding form with two wins from her four Sydney Autumn Carnival starts.
The Encosta De Lago filly was able to score first up in the Group 2 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on March 5 before running sixth to Griante in the Group 1 $700,000 Banjo Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 19.
English then ran a mighty race when she came from near last to run third behind Chautauqua and Fell Swoop in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on the first day off ‘The Championships’ on April 2.
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