Malaguerra held-off a flying Spieth to record a narrow victory in a thrilling edition of the 2016 Darley Classic at Flemington this afternoon.
At the 200 metre mark there were a host of winning chances as Malaguerra, Fell Swoop and Lankan Rupee were spread right across the track before Spieth stormed into calculations late after being held-up for a run.
Malaguerra got his nose down at the right time to claim a second victory at Group 1 level and jockey Ben Melham was clearly delighted to continue his impressive association with the Magnus gelding.
“He has been flying this horse,” Melham said.
“I have had a lot to do with him and I was very confident coming into this race with him today.
“He had the right sort of run with cover and he came out and I let him go through his gears.
“He was sensational through the line.
“He is just a winner.
“This is what we work all year for and it is so much sweeter when you can have a bit of joy.”
Malaguerra stamped himself as a genuine Group 1 sprinter when he won the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) under the care of Lee and Anthony Freedman, but owner Bruno Micalizzi made the controversial decision to transfer the five-year-old to the care of Peter Gelagotis before the start of his spring campaign.
Racing Manager Manny Gelagotis was quick to pay credit to the work that Team Freedman had done with Malaguerra, but he believes that the Moe stable environment has relaxed the horse and helped him record another Group 1 victory in the Darley Classic.
“The horse has had a few trainers and I understand that,” Gelagotis said.
“I really appreciate the previous work done on the horse, but we had him fresh.
“This horse had a lot of quirks and Ben Melham kept on telling us that he couldn’t believe this was the horse that he used to ride.
“His attitude today was unbelievable and his application to succeed in excellent.
“There is always pressure when you get these good horses, but we delivered today.
“My brother is an incredible trainer.
“We have been going really well for a while with a boutique stable and we want these sort of horses.
“We had The Cleaner, but it didn’t really work out, but this is a different horse, he is a sound horse.
“This is our advertisement for our business and I can’t believe we have won the Darley Classic.”
There is no doubt that Spieth was the run of the race and he ran incredible sectionals in the final 200 metres after being blocked for a run the majority of the straight.
Manikato Stakes runner-up Fell Swoop produced another gallant effort in third, while Lankan Rupee continued his comeback with a fourth place finish.