Veteran stayer Maluckyday will return to the races, under the care of new trainer Joseph Pride, in the City Tattersalls Club Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Maluckyday has not been seen at the races since he finished seventh behind Mourayan in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) earlier this year and was expected to join stablemate Niwot in retirement after the race.
Owner Nick Moraitis, of Might and Power fame, made the decision to remove the seven-year-old from the stable of Team Hawkes and send him to Pride; in the hope that a sea change would help the gelding recapture the form that saw him finish second behind Americain in the 2010 edition of the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Pride told AAP that he was delighted to acquire the services of Maluckyday and is hopeful that he can return the son of Zabeel to his best form.
“I’d take Maluckyday any day over a high priced yearling,” Pride said.
“I love working with this kind of horse; the challenge is there to get him back somewhere near his best and if I can do that I’ve got a Group One horse.
“You are going to go through a lot of yearlings to get a Group One horse.”
Pride has been patient with Maluckyday and waited until he was completely satisfied 2010 Lexus Stakes (2500m) winner before bringing him to the races.
The Warwick Farm-based trainer said that he is not expecting Maluckyday to be victorious first-up over the unsuitable distance of 1400 metres but is excited to see how the injury-plagued galloper performs in his first race appearance under a new training regime.
“I’ve waited to take him to the races until we were really happy with him and I’m now at that point,” Pride said.
“His coat isn’t out yet so he looks a bit scruffy but I know underneath he’s feeling pretty good so I’m happy.
“Getting a guide on a horse who is primarily a mile-and-a-half horse to a two miler in 800 metre barrier trials is not easy, but I think there is a little bit of speed back in his legs that maybe he hasn’t had in the last season or two.”
Pride has targeted the Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on New Year’s Day as the major assignment for Maluckyday this campaign.