Talented New Zealand gelding Malandrino has been scratched from tomorrow’s Group 3 Rough Habit Plate after a Hong Kong sales deal was confirmed this morning.
Rated as one of the favourites for next month’s Queensland Derby, negotiations began last Friday with a Hong Kong buyer and trainer Murray Baker this morning confirmed the three-year-old would be leaving his stables.
“He’s been sold,” Baker said.
“The deal was done yesterday and was all settled today.”
The son of Darci Brahma has had a highly promising start to his career and interest was sparked in the racing community after an impressive 2 ½ length win in the Group 3 Manawatu Classic last start.
Baker admitted he was disappointed to lose the talented youngster but understood the rationale behind the owners’ decision.
“We have a saying in New Zealand you never go broke selling them,” Baker said.
“I think he can be a superstar. A very, very good horse.”
Up and coming New Zealand jockey James McDonald rode him to victory in his two most recent starts and he was also full of praise for the horse.
“He’s an outstanding galloper of the future,” McDonald said.
Malandrino is yet another high profile withdrawal from the Group 1 Queensland Derby which will be held at Eagle Farm on June 9.
Early favourite Fat Al was earlier this week spelled for the spring along with Anthony Cummings-trained Strike The Stars while South Australian Derby winner Zabeelionaire remains an unlikely starter.
The withdrawal of Malandrino from tomorrow’s Rough Habit Plate has seen John Thompson-trained gelding installed as $3.20 favourite just ahead of Gunsynd Classic winner Trump ($3.50).
Tomorrow’s Rough Habit Plate is one of the exciting races on the opening day of the Brisbane Winter Carnival that is highlighted by the Group 1 $500,000 BTC Cup.