Neville Parnham has faith that if Malibu Style can reproduce his Melbourne form he looms as a top contender in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
The top trainer has won a host of Perth’s major races, but victory in the state’s premier $1 million sprint is one feature event that has eluded his grasp.
Parnham believes Malibu Style can return to Perth racing on a winning note after a positive autumn and spring campaign in Melbourne.
The Magnus gelding’s pinnacle win came in April when he took out the Listed Bel Esprit Stakes (1100m) by 2 ¼ lengths at Caulfield.
Malibu Style held that form in October when he ran a close third to Keen Array in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Parnham says Malibu Style had thrived and benefitted from his trip to Melbourne and most importantly was free of injury.
“He definitely went better over there,” Parnham said on TABradio.
“Overall his form was really strong and he seemed to be a lot sounder.
“Early in his career he had a lot of feet troubles throughout.
“That was why he put in some ordinary runs.
“Since going over there he has gone a lot better.
“It might have been the environment and the way he was stabled.
“We have tried to replicate that at home.
“Since being home he is trouble free and sound.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how he measures up to a few quality horses.”
Malibu Style has met support with the TAB, firming from $34 to $26, despite copping a wide draw in barrier 10.
“The barrier is not ideal, but he will go forward and can make the most of it,” Parnham said.
“I would like him to be outside and not cluttered up.
“I’m sure he will run well.
“Whether he is up to weight for age and the better class of horses is to be answered.”
Parnham’s jockey son, Steven, who partnered Malibu Style in Melbourne, retains the ride.