The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Peter Gelagotis-trained Malaguerra returned to racing in awesome style at Moonee Valley on Friday night posting an equal track record victory in the Australia Stakes 2017.
The Magnus five-year-old continued his gun 1200m record with a sixth win from nine starts at the distance when he upset the favourite in this season’s $200,000 Group 2 Browns Sawdust & Shavings Australia Stakes (1200m).
Darren Weir’s three-time Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart jumped the clear $2.50 top fancy but only managed to finish two lengths away second to the dominant winner Malaguerra ($4.20).
Ridden by Ben Melham first-up, Malaguerra won the Australia Stakes in 1:09.29, the equal fastest for the track / distance with Miss Andretti from the 2006 Manikato Stakes.
“We had some concerns [pre-race], but I just have Benny the encouragement to execute his strategy,” the stable’s racing manager Manny Gelagotis told the media post-win on Friday evening.
“In our mind, he was clearly the best horse in the race. He’s a multiple Group 1 winner.
“Moonee Valley can be tricky, but the horse showed a lot of class.
“I expected to see that – he trialled amazing back home.
“Benny said himself he’s never seen a horse look better.
“The horse is in rare form, and is a serious horse.”
Rounding out the Australia Stakes trifecta in a surprise third a further one and a half lengths away was the Russell Bell-trained Sirbible ($31) who has a 50% winning strike rate at the tight Moonee Valley circuit.
It was a lovely result coming third for retiring jockey Darren Gauci who enjoyed the Group 2 minor placing in his final stakes ride.
Malaguerra took his career earnings to over $1.57 million in prize money with the Australia Stakes result, his fifth first-up win from six resuming starts.
He was last seen prior to Friday night’s weight-for-age sprint running a close fifth in Perth’s Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), which followed on from his Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) success down the Flemington straight during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The team will now give him the chance at more elite level success during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 11 and the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) back at Caulfield Racecourse on Blue Diamond Stakes Day (February 25) on the cards for Malaguerra.
“We’ve been dying to challenge the horse at the seven furlongs,” Gelagotis said.
“It’s going to take an exciting horse to beat him in the Orr and Futurity.
“It’s there to be seen.
“We saw him at Flemington in previous preparations, and he can run very quick time, and control speed. It’s a good asset to have.”
To back Malaguerra next-up and access the best odds on the 2017 CF Orr Stakes Saturday week, head to Ladbrokes.com.au – the home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
2017 Australia Stakes Results
Moonee Valley Race 7 – 27/01/2017
|1||3||MALAGUERRA||Peter Gelagotis||Ben Melham||–||9||58.5kg||$4.20|
|2||1||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||2L||3||58.5kg||$2.50F|
|3||8||SIRBIBLE||Russell Bell||Darren Gauci||3.5L||4||58.5kg||$31|
|4||5||PALENTINO||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||5L||5||58.5kg||$21|
|5||10||PEACOCK||John O’Shea||Craig Williams||5.5L||2||55kg||$31|
|6||7||CHETWOOD||John O’Shea||James Doyle||6.5L||8||58.5kg||$4.20|
|7||2||TURN ME LOOSE (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Kerrin McEvoy||7.25L||1||58.5kg||$13|
|8||4||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Craig Newitt||7.45L||6||58.5kg||$31|
|9||6||IT IS WRITTEN||Robbie Griffiths||Matthew Allen||7.65L||7||58.5kg||$61|
|–||9||CAVALOCE||Will Clarken||Dwayne Dunn||–||0||–||–|
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