Perth sprinter Malibu Style is back in Melbourne and his trainer Neville Parnham says the gelding is ready to go first-up in a Listed race at Flemington.
Parnham had considered last week’s Group One Oakleigh Plate for Malibu Style’s return but the strength of the entries prompted him to wait another week for Saturday’s ATA/Bob Hoysted Handicap (1000m).
“Perhaps if he had have had a run under his belt I might have considered having a shot at the stumps but I just felt that we were probably better off being realistic and aiming for something that he’s going to be very competitive in,” Parnham said.
“He flew over on Tuesday night and settled in beautifully.
“He’s been there before and has spent a bit of time there so he’s adapted very well.”
Saturday’s 1000m-straight race features multiple Group One-placed sprinter Fell Swoop and Group One-winning mare Secret Agenda who are equal topweights with 60kg in the field of 11.
Malibu Style, who is having his first start since finishing last in the Group One Winterbottom Stakes in Perth in early December, has 55kg.
The gelding raced nine times in Melbourne during 2017 which included a win in the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield in April.
He has not won in four attempts in straight races at Flemington but has been placed twice, finishing a close second to one of Saturday’s rivals Crystal Dreamer over 1000m last May in an open handicap and third in the Group Two Gilgai Stakes (1200m) during spring.
“He’s going as good as then, if not a bit better,” Parnham said.
“He came home and ran in the Winterbottom but he was flat. His Melbourne campaign just took its toll.
“We gave him about a month off and he trialled at Ascot a couple of weeks ago and it was only a small field but he won it extremely easily and ran very good time.
“He’s had a couple of good gallops since so he’s pretty ready for first-up run at 1000 metres.”
Parnham said there were a couple of options after Saturday, including the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington later this month.