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2016 Darley Classic result – Malaguerra holds on
Brad Waters – 05 Nov 2016
Peter Gelagotis was on a hiding to nothing when he took over Malaguerra’s training but he achieved the ultimate result with the horse in Saturday’s Group I Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington.

Malaguerra (red & yellow silks) holds off Spieth (blue with yellow vee) in Saturday’s Darley Classic. Photo: Darryl Sherer
Malaguerra won the Group I BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben for the Lee and Anthony Freedman stable in May but found himself in Moe after a controversial stable change after the Stradbroke Handicap.

However, a modest Gelagotis was quick to hail the Freedmans’ handling of Malaguerra ($9.50) after he lasted under Ben Melham’s hard riding to beat the unlucky Spieth ($8.50) in the $1 million sprint.

“I want to pay a special tribute to the Freedman stable. They have obviously prepared this horse very well and given a really a walk-up start with a really nice horse,” Gelagotis said.

“They have done a lot of work with the horse and I’ve got take over the mantle and try and uphold that system and credibility of the horse.

“I’ve done it to the best of my ability and I came into the race today quietly confident that I’ve done it right.

“I’m just very fortunate that I’ve been able to get a good horse in my care and achieve a result that we all dream of.”

Spieth’s trainer Bryce Heys was emotional after the exciting galloper fell a short head short of giving him a maiden Group I win.

However, Spieth’s rider Brad Rawiller said the four-year-old was stiff to fall short in the Darley Classic.

“It’s hard to swallow,” Rawiller said.

“He probably should have won, not probably, should have won.

“Outstanding run by a horse which is very much an up-and-coming sprinter.”

Fell Swoop ($9) raced handy to the speed before holding third ahead of Lankan Rupee ($8.50) and the early leader Sheidel ($9.50).