O’Malley’s third in stakes company after a long lay-off has his jockey confident he can cause an upset in the McEwen Stakes.
Craig Newitt was taken by the return of the Enver Jusufovic-trained O’Malley when he finished hard in the Listed Carlyon Stakes won by Heatherly.
The multiple Group One-winning jockey rides the six-year-old again in Saturday’s Group Two McEwen (1000m) at Moonee Valley.
The Carlyon Stakes, over the same course and distance, was O’Malley’s first start for more than 18 months after he fractured a knee and needed two screws inserted.
“He ran super after a long time off,” Newitt said.
“He closed off really well.
“He hadn’t raced for a long time and will benefit from that run, so I reckon he’s a great chance.
“Obviously weight-for-age is the only test for him but it’s not much stronger than what he met the other day.
“There will be a heap of speed which is going to suit him. He’ll jump out of the ground.”
Heatherly is the $2.70 favourite and will be out to press her claims for the Group One Moir Stakes later this month.
Furnaces, Wild Rain and Sheidel are also at single-figure odds while O’Malley is at $12.
Newitt believes if there is pressure up front and the track pattern isn’t a disadvantage to those running on, O’Malley can turn the tables on Heatherly.
O’Malley is yet to win in stakes company with his career restricted to nine starts of which he has won four.
The John O’Shea-trained Furnaces finished third to Group One winners Chautauqua and Flamberge first-up in the McEwen a year ago as a three-year-old.
“He’s performed well at the Valley before and he goes into this race as good as he’s been first up,” O’Shea said.