The Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Doomben during the 2015 Brisbane Winter Carnival is a long term target for Expressway Stakes longshot Malavio.
The classy sprinter is resuming from a lengthy spell in the Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday and is rated as one of the outsiders of the field at $17 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
While Warwick Farm trainer Steve Englebrecht can’t see Malavio troubling the strong group of gallopers, including five from the Chris Waller stable, he expects the six year old to perform well and considers the Stradbroke Handicap a nice race for him during the Winter.
“So the idea is to get him going and aim at the Stradbroke Handicap. It looks like a nice race for him and he can have a short preparation and a freshen-up before Queensland,” Englebrecht told AAP.
Malavio has raced in Group company for the last three seasons but hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since causing an upset win in taking out the 2013 Group 3 $125,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick during the Spring Carnival.
But the Snitzel six year old hasn’t been to the races since finishing last of ten in the Group 3 $150,000 Panthers Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) at Hawkesbury May 3 after suffering cardiac arrhythmia.
Englebrecht subsequently sent Malavio to the paddock to recuperate and is confident that the one off problem won’t return during this campaign and has come through two recent Warwick Farm barrier trials, a second and win, in good order.
“We have had exhaustive tests done and he has come through with flying colours. There’s no treatment for the condition and no-one can say why it happens,” Englebrecht said.
“We monitor him closely and we are vigilant about his behaviour just to make sure he isn’t stirred up.
“What I can see is that he is a fit and healthy horse. He won his barrier trial well and came through it with no problems.”
The Paul Messara trained three year old Panzer Division has been installed the early favourite for the Expressway Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au and is currently marked $3.40 ahead of Weary at $5.50 and Boban at $6.
Next in the market order is the Peter and Paul Snowden trained That’s A Good Idea at $7.50, Gai Waterhouse’s Driefontein at $8.50, Thermal Current from the Peter Moody stable at $11 and Territory at $13.