Buoyed by Sunday’s success, trainer Ray Malpass says he will target next month’s Carnarvon Cup (2000m) with renewed confidence after Madrid Centro cruised to an upset win.
Malpass confirmed Madrid Centro will line up in the $60,000 race after he pulled up well from his dominant victory in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap (1700m).
Striking as a $26 chance, Madrid Centro was sent forward from a wide gate by jockey Nicole Hopwood and took control of the race before the turn
Posting his first win this preparation, the eight-year-old skipped clear to defeat Deception Game by 3 ¼ lengths with favourite Marxian finishing third.
“He’s pulled up really well and why not have a crack at the Carnarvon Cup,” Malpass told the Races WA.
“If he repeats the same run you would have to think he is going to be one of the horses to beat.
“He’s hit form at the right time and you might as well have a go.”
Madrid Centro started the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap at double figure odds, but Malpass wasn’t entirely worried by the gelding’s lead-up form.
He said two placings from six starts was better than what it appeared on paper.
“He has been plagued by barrier one at his previous two starts,” Malpass said.
“Unless your leading drawing the inside gate is not where you want to be in Carnarvon.
“He’s had to muster speed from an inside draw and he can’t do it at both ends.
“He’s better drawing out wide where you don’t have to touch him and he can do it on his own accord.
“Nicole (Hopwood) rode him perfectly and allowed him to find his feet.
“I’m praying he gets an outside gate in the Carnarvon Cup.”
Malpass believes Madrid Centro, in contrast to 12-months ago, will be at his peak for the Carnarvon Cup.
“Last season we commenced his campaign early and by the time of the Carnarvon Cup he’d had enough,” Malpass said.
“It was early ripe, early rotten and he didn’t make it to the race.
“He’s had a delayed campaign this year and will be at his peak for the cup.”
Madrid Centro has seven victories from 47 starts, but has yet to win beyond 1700m.
Malpass shrugs off any concerns Madrid Centro can’t run out a strong 2000m in the Carnarvon Cup.
“I’m not sure if the trip will find him out,” Malpass said.
“But the way he got to 1700m and ran through the line was good.
“If he is ridden like he was on Sunday he should be ok.”