James McDonald has been booked to ride Malice in the 2015 Scone Cup and the leading hoop is confident that the gelding can return to winning form in the Listed event tomorrow afternoon.
Malice looked set for a big autumn campaign when he finished a close second behind Excess Knowledge in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28, but he did not have a great deal of luck when he was beaten as favourite in the Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 18 before he was beaten by more than seven lengths in the Listed Lord Mayors Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on May 9.
McDonald admits that Malice’s form has only been fair in his past two starts, but he told Sky Racing HQ that he believes that son of Teofilo can return to his best form when he gets a chance on a firmer surface in the Scone Cup this weekend.
“He has been ticking over ok,” McDonald said.
“His first-up run was outstanding when he went down to Excess Knowledge, but second-up he was a little bit fresh over 2000 metres, he pulled quite hard and the race never really panned out for him.
“I think that he is peaking for the right day with this race in mind and I think that he will run a really strong race.
“I think if the track is a decent surface he will be right in the finish.”
McDonald has a strong book of ride throughout the Scone Cup Carnival and he has been booked to ride Seagrove in the Listed Woodlands Stakes (1100m), Savoureux in the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m), Haussmann in the Listed Luskin Star Stakes, Calming Influence in the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m) and Ygritte in the Inglis Guineas (1400m), but he believes that his best ride of the weekend may be Target In Sight in the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m).
“I was thrilled to get offered a couple of those rides, especially Target In Sight,” McDonald said.
“I trialed him the other day and I felt that he was in superb form.
“He is very fresh and ready to go.
“1100 will suit him, a firm track will suit him and a hot tempo will suit him and he looks to get all three.”
Malice is currently available at 2015 Scone Cup odds of $8 with Ladbrokes and he is on the fifth line of betting behind Tales Of Grimm ($7), Strawberry Boy ($7), San Diego ($7.50) and Pheidon ($7.50).