Moloney relishes return on Mr Malek

Patrick Moloney is hoping he can keep his current handy form going this Friday, especially with the exciting reunion on smart three-year-old Mr Malek.

MR MALEK winning the SPALATO 2014 STAKES CLASS 4
MR MALEK winning the SPALATO 2014 STAKES CLASS 4 Picture: Singapore Turf Club

Things are going well for the young Australian jockey. Barring a three-day careless riding suspension (for his ride on What's New in the Fortune Bowl in February) that slowed down his momentum a little, support has been healthy for the lightweight rider - and winners have also come at a steady flow.

A weekend double courtesy of both a well-backed runner (Gold Star, $12 on Friday) and a rank-outsider (Apollo Rock, $194) perfectly illustrates the solid foothold he has taken in his new turf. Moloney's score now reads six winners, cementing both his Top 10 spot and the good impression he left with his haul of four winners at his first visit last August.

One of them happened to be at the start of Mr Malek's juggernaut of three wins in a row, when he carried only 52.5kgs on his back. Lee Freedman's son of Swiss Ace is slapped with two more kilos in Friday's $70,000 Class 3 race over 1200m, but it's still too light for regular partner John Powell, who was the pilot in that walloping of a Class 4 field over six furlongs on February 29.

"I threw my hat in the ring when I knew he would get a low weight at his next run. It's a good opportunity for Lee," said Moloney.

"I've galloped him since his last run. He's going really great, he feels good.

"Hopefully, he keeps showing natural improvement every time we raise the bar for him. I'm very excited to get back on him as he is one of the most promising three-year-olds here."

Freedman is, however, keeping a lid on any hyperbole. To him, the 3YO kingpin is still Inferno, but his first defeat at his fifth start, which came at his first test in open company three weeks ago, has served as a cautionary tale.

"Mr Malek  is fit and well. But that race is mainly to keep him ticking over until the Saas Fee," said the Australian handler who is aiming the Oscar Racing Stable's new exciting find at the Group 3 JBBA Saas Fee Stakes (1200m) for three-year-olds on April 18.

"Pat will ride him as he's got 54.5kgs. He knows him well; he's won his maiden. I'm sure Mr Malek will measure up on Friday.

"But it's always hard for these three-year-olds when they run in Class 3. Look at Inferno - he didn't have the best of runs, no doubt, but it was a big test for him, even if he's still the benchmark.

"This is anecdotal, but Mr Clint was the last three-year-old to win in Class 3 in the last 12 months before he went on to win the Guineas (2018)."

Freedman's first Group 1 winner in the Singapore Guineas and eventual first Singapore Gold Cup winner (2019), however, didn't put up a show at his first 2020 assignment in the Group 2 Chairman's Trophy (1600m) on February 15.

Held up at the rear by new partner Moloney, he didn't make much headway at any stage, running a distant eighth to Countofmontecristo.

"I couldn't find anything wrong with him. I guess it was just another one of those Mr Clint runs," he said wryly.

"He's pulled up well, though, and he's been ticking along well. He's heading towards the Moonbeam Vase, so we'll see how he goes."

Moloney is expected to be back on the Power five-year-old when the Group 3 Moonbeam Vase (1600m) comes around on May 1, but the winner of three Group 2 races in Australia gets an earlier shot at a first Singapore silverware on Aramaayo in the second Leg of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge, the $400,000 Group 2 Stewards' Cup (1600m) this Friday.

Trainer Shane Baertschiger booked Moloney for his first sit on the former Godolphin miler in the first Leg, the Group 1 Silver Bowl (1400m) on February 29. They ran fifth to gun sprinter Bold Thruster, who as half-expected, will skip the next two Legs.

"He ran well in the Sliver Bowl without being 'wow'," said Moloney.      

"I haven't sat on him since, but from all reports, he's going well. He's looking to the mile, I'll ride him more conservative.

"I think he will run a strong mile and a strong 1800m while some might not."

On his credentials, the Poet's Voice four-year-old should not have any problem seeing out such journeys.

Known as Aramayo during his Australian racing career, Aramaayo is a Group 3 winner over the mile (Spring Stakes at Newcastle in  2018), but also ran second in the 2018 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick and third in the 2018 Group 2 Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley at his first time of going the other way (left-handed).


Singapore Turf Club