Trainer John O’Shea is willing to forget Malice’s last start unplaced run and expects major improvement when the gelding runs in the Listed $150,000 Gosford Quarries Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) at Gosford on Friday.
Malice was back in the winner’s stall two starts back when he came from well back in the field to take out his second Listed $125,000 ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on December 3 but then a change of plans saw the six year old miss a place when fourth to Red Excitement in the Group 3 $150,000 Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick on December 26.
O’Shea had originally planned to drop Malice back to 1600m in the Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes at Randwick on December 17 but a rain affected track forced a change of plans to run in the Summer Cup instead a week later.
“We had a Villiers program in mind for him but weather intervened and in the end it lacked continuity,” O’Shea told AAP.
“I think he can be forgiven for his run the other day at Randwick when he finished just behind them.”
Malice has drawn the rails in the Gosford Gold Cup field of six and O‘Shea thinks the small number of opponents will definitely help his chances with James Doyle in the saddle again.
“The small field should be a help and I think he’ll run better,” O’Shea said.
Malice is marked at $5 for the Gosford Gold Cup in a compact market at Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Summer Cup winner Red Excitement as the $2.50 favourite.
On the second line of betting is the Villiers Stakes winner Sense Of Occasion at $3.50 while the back in-form Destiny’s Kiss is listed as a $6.50 chance ahead of Foreign Prince at $8 and the outsider of the field Loophole at $18.
The track for the Gosford Gold Cup was rated a Good 4 on Thursday morning with the forecast for Gosford on Friday being a hot 34 degrees under partly cloudy skies.