Trainer Peter Gelagotis will step Malaguerra back up to Group 1 company after the five year old scored a decisive win in the Group 2 $200,000 Browns Sawdust And Savings Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley last Friday night.
The Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11 will be Malaguerra’s next start before running in the Group 1 $500,000 Futurity Stakes over the same course and distance on February 25.
“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.”
Malaguerra scored his second Group 1 victory with a win in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the last day of the 2016 four day Melbourne Cup Carnival before running fifth to Takedown in the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on November 26.
Malaguerra was first up in the Australia Stakes and after settling just behind the leaders in the early and middle stages, Ben Melham released the brakes on the home turn and the Magnus five year old raced away to record a dominant two lengths victory to equal Miss Andretti’s track record.
“Moonee Valley can be tricky, but the horse showed a lot of class,” Gelagotis said.
“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.”
Malaguerra’s first Group 1 win came during the 2016 Brisbane Winter Carnival when Lee and Anthony Freedman were able to prepare him to win the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben.
The Australia Stakes win was Malaguerra’s twelfth win from twenty-three starts and took his prizemoney total over the $1.5 million mark.