A trip to Adelaide next month for a shot at the Group 1 The Goodwood could be on the agenda for Enver Jusufovic’s lightly-raced six-year-old O’Malley if things go right in Melbourne on the weekend.
Street Boss gelding O’Malley is one of fourteen sprinters accepted for a black-type run at Caulfield in Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m).
In Sydney wet tracks may have plagued the Autumn Carnival, but the Cranbourne-based Jusufovic has the opposite problem for his smart short-distance galloper in Melbourne.
The Caulfield track is currently rated a Good (3), but Jusufovic will make a final call on Friday afternoon as to whether or not the course is too firm for O’Malley to contest the Bel Esprit Stakes.
“If it’s not rock hard I’ll more than likely run,” Jusufovic told AAP.
“We’re getting a bit of dew in the mornings, but I’ll probably go up on Friday, have a look and make some inquiries.”
A horse that performs better with the sting out of the track, O’Malley has enjoyed five wins and three other minor placings over his twelve-start career to date.
There is strong form surrounding his latest turf triumph from Cox Plate Day during the spring when defeating subsequent dual Group 1 third-placegetter Jungle Edge over 955m at Moonee Valley.
After that O’Malley backed-up running under three lengths back sixth to Husson Eagle in the Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) at Sandown-Hillside in November.
O’Malley has had a career plagued with setbacks including most notably a knee fracture that saw him spend eighteen months on the sidelines, explaining his subsequent light campaigns and extended stints in the paddock.
A recent Cranbourne trial has brought the galloper on fitness-wise ahead of his much awaited return, O’Malley running third behind Miss Vista and Merriest over 800m with the two before him in the hit-out going on to win at Caulfield on Easter Saturday.
“He’s come back exceptionally well,” Jusufovic said.
“It was a pretty soft trial and he derived benefit from that and his work on Tuesday was pretty good.
“Whatever he does he’s going to improve on but he’s rarin’ to go, so it all depends on the weather what I do.”
Looking further ahead, Jusufovic is hoping to have O’Malley in peak form for a possible shot at the $1 million Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 20 followed by a Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign in Queensland.
“I’ve got to see how he progresses,” he said.
“The Goodwood is an option and we could then take him up to Brisbane.”
In Bel Esprit Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au for the weekend, O’Malley sits as a $9 shot to line-up and win Caulfield Race 7 at 3:55pm (AEST).