Hall Of Fame trainer Lee Freedman is confident that Malaguerra will be competitive when he makes his weight for age debut in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Freedman is stepping Malaguerra up to the top level after the four year old collected his fourth win on the trot with victory in the Group 3 $150,000 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26.
While Freedman admits that you never really know if your horse will handle the step up to weight for age at the higest level, he is sure that Malaguerra will race up to his recent winning form.
“I do think that Malaguerra will run a big race in the All Aged,” Freedman, who trains in partnership with his brother Anthony, told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“Coming through the grades really. He has been rising to the occasion each time but this probably is the biggest task we have set him.”
“He is a good worker and that and he is in great form and fitness but until you try then at weight for age against that quality of horse, you don’t really know.”
Malaguerra has worked his way up through the classes and prior to his win in the Star Kingdom Stakes had won his three previous starts, two at Flemington last November and then resumed in the Autumn to win the Listed $120,000 ATA/Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on March 5.
Freedman said that he was running out of options where to place the Magnus four year old and it was a good opportunity to be tested in Group 1 company after pulling up well after his Star Kingdom Stakes win.
“He is good. You know a big task tomorrow,” Freedman said.
“We are running out of options with our horse at the lower levels as he goes up in the handicaps so I thought we would give him a try at this race.
“He is a very competitive horse. He is quick, he likes to win and I and sure he won’t disgrace himself.”
Blake Shinn was impressed with the way Malaguerra won at Rosehill and has taken the ride again and is certain to give him the run of the race from barrier two.
Freedman considers the Chris Waller trained three year old Press Statement as the hardest to beat, coming off a last start third behind stablemates Winx and Kermadec in the weight for age Group 1 $1m China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 19.
“I think Chris (Waller) is probably right that his horse is the horse to beat,” Freedman said.
“It is a great three years old race.”
As well as having experience at weight for age, Press Statement is also a Group 1 winner, taking out the 2015 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
Malaguerra is rated as one of the main chances for the All Aged Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au and is on the second line of betting at $4.20 behind Press Statement who heads up the market order at $3.50.
All Aged Stakes market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.50 Press Statement, $4.20 Malaguerra, $4.60 English, $6 Black Heart Bart, $6.50 Kermadec, $15 Goldstream, $26 Rebel Dane, $31 Perignon.