Neville Parnham is optimistic Malibu Style can end a frustrating campaign in the main feature at Bunbury on Tuesday: the $30,000 Talk About Taste DBC South West Summer Sizzle (1200m).
The son of Magnus is searching for his first win this preparation, but Parnham believes the four-year-old has his hoof on the till and is getting close to snapping a losing spell.
Malibu Style has yet to strike the same type of form he displayed when last in work that netted the gelding and his connections a cheque in each of his five appearances.
Between March and May at Ascot and Belmont last year he posted two wins and three placings, culminating with a decisive victory over Lindsey Smith’s Madassa.
The speedster more than proved his credentials when he ran a bolter in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) last November, a fighting fourth behind Buffering.
Parnham opted to keep Malibu Style away from the race track after he ran a half-length third to Vengabus over 1200m at Ascot on December 19.
That encounter completed another frustrating minor third placing after he was beaten a short-head by, Flytego, in a three way photo-finish.
Parnham elected to freshen up his charge, a tactic he has employed successfully in the past with Malibu Style finding the money in three of four first-up attempts.
The form reference behind Vengabus is also encouraging with the Simon Miller-trained gelding winning two of his next three outings including Saturday at Ascot (1500m).
Parnham said it was D-Day for Malibu Style, who in a field of 11 starters, can be given the run of the race from barrier four. Parnham’s son, Steven, retains the ride.
“He’s had a few weeks between runs and had a freshen-up which has been good for the horse,” Parnham said on TABradio.
“He has been a bit frustrating the whole campaign with awkward barriers and he has raced a little bit luckless.
“I’ve been questioning how he has come up this campaign and whether he has been at his best.
“But he has worked really well leading into this race and I guess we will see where he is at.
“We might have to put him out for the winter or we continue on, but he has been to Bunbury once before and has won.
“If the Malibu of old turns up he will win easy and I think he is not far away from that form.”
Mad Brad resumes after running a series of outstanding races for trainer, Ben Pearce, last year.
Geraldton’s Batavia Sprint (1300m) and a third to Rock Magic in the Listed Beaufine Stakes (1000m) career highlights.
The five-year-old hasn’t been in a competitive race since a sound second to top mare, Ideal Image, at Ascot last August.
He carries 58kg with the claim of apprentice, Casey Hunter. Mad Brad, who starts from the second widest gate, has never missed the money in five first-up attempts.
Calabria Joe, who was scratched from Ascot on Saturday, has never been beaten when second up.
The Justin Warwick-trained gelding was held up for clear running when fifth to Volkoff at Ascot on January 2.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli