Stradbroke Handicap still on the cards for Malaguerra

Beaten All Aged Stakes fancy Malaguerra is still on track to head to Queensland for the Group 1 $2m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.

Malaguerra is still on track for a start in the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Malaguerra is still on track for a start in the Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm. Photo by Steve Hart.

Co-trainer Lee Freedman is keen to head north for the Brisbane Winter Carnival even though Malaguerra failed to fill a place in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.

“I thought he finished it off well, he’s come through it fine and he’ll head to Queensland now and probably just stick to handicaps,” Freedman told Racing.com.

Malaguerra was sent out as the equal second favourite at $5 at his first try at weight for age but after jockey Blake Shinn relinquished the lead at the 1000m, the four year old was never in the hunt from that point and wound up sixth, four and a half lengths from the winner English.

Shinn admitted after the race that his decision to give up the lead was not one of his best.

“Not one of my best, I made a decision to hand up due to the fact I didn’t think I had the horse to keep vying for the lead and in hindsight it was the wrong move,” Shinn said after the race.

Freedman said that the run was hard to assess but Malaguerra had pulled up in good order and he will push on with his current campaign.

“That said it was a hard run to assess … he looked like he had plenty to give on the corner and got shuffled back out of it at the 300m,” Freedman said.

“He had a bit of a sore back from Blake’s ride,” Freedman laughed.

“No, I didn’t have words with Blake, he was the first to say he didn’t think it was a great ride.”

Freedman is also the one to look for a positive and Malaguerra’s unplaced run will see that he gets into the Stradbroke handicap on a light weight.

“It might be a little bit of a blessing in disguise that he’s got beaten in that, he won’t attract as much weight in the Stradbroke now and that’s the only positive I can see out of the race other than he’s come through all right,” Freedman said.

Malaguerra will have a short freshen up outside of Sydney before hopping on the float to Brisbane.

“He went out to a little spelling farm an hour from Rosehill and he’ll stay there just to give him a pick-me-up,” Freedman said.

The Magnus four year old’s form prior to the All Aged Stakes had been first class, chalking up four wins on the trot with victory in the Group 3 $150,000 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 26.

His winning run started during the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival with two wins at Flemington before resuming in the Autumn to win the Listed $120,000 ATA/Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m) at Flemington on March 5.

Malaguerra has held his spot at the top of the market order for the Stradbroke Handicap at $4.60 at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Victorian mare Azkadellia  at $4.80 and All Aged Stakes quinella English and Black Heart Bart at $7.

Early Stradbroke Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Malaguerra, $4.80 Azkadellia, $7 Black Heart Bart, English, $11 Counterattack, Fell Swoop, Music Magnate, Xtravagant, $13 Delectation, $15 Ghisoni, Japonisme, $17 Artlee, Charlie Boy, First Seal, Good Project, Lumosty.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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