Majinika is the best backed runner in the Guineas Handicap (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday.

Punters have high expectations for the eight-year-old after an eye-catching run against quality opposition two weeks ago.

Under Jade McNaught, Majinika was in front for a long way and it was only in the final 50 metres that he was reeled in.

Cup Night edged out The Velvet King with Majinika, a recent new comer to Ashley Maley’s team, holding down a brave third.

The Velvet King franked the form with victory in last Saturday’s Group 3 Northerly Stakes (1400m).

Cup Night will be one of the major chances in Sunday’s Listed Northam Cup (1600m).

Maley said Majinika’s first-up third against black-type opposition was not a shock.

“It was not a complete surprise, but I was very, very pleased with his run,” Maley told Tabradio.

“To hold on as long as he did I was very pleased, for a horse that hasn’t been down for a track gallop or anything.

“He just held that same speed for a long time you know, it was pretty pleasing.”

Majinika has been backed from $6 to $2.75 favouritism.

A winner of three races and a second from five second up attempts, the Izmir gelding will look to run his rivals of their legs from barrier four.

“That’s the way he rolls and there is no point trying to change his pattern,” Maley said.

“His work has been really good and he certainly will come on from that first run.”

Majinika is the market leader ahead of Western Temple ($3.80), Spillinova ($4.40) and Stratocreed ($4.80).

Co-trainer Todd Harvey believes Stratocreed is well weighted with the claim of Melbourne apprentice, Harry Grace.

The Stratum gelding carries 53kg, 5kg less than his most recent win over Sharpbob two weeks ago.

“The horse has really pleased us at home,” Harvey said.

“He is only a little fella so gets in with a beautiful weight.

“He steps up in class and will have to find a little bit, but with a feather weight we are hoping he can.”

Julio Santarelli