Malaguerra (Image: Racing Photos)
Team Gelagotis might be without its stable star Levendi this spring, but it's got another of its best ready to fire.
Group 1-winning sprinter Malaguerra hasn't been seen since the Darley Classic last November but the stable is confident the seven year-old has recovered well and still has some top racing left in him.
"Malaguerra jarred-up badly last Spring Carnival at Flemington and he spent some time down at Lee Evison's on and off," said racing manager Manny Gelagotis.
"He's in a really good place, we've just given him that little bit of extra time off, just try and give him that little bit of purpose and get another couple of seasons out of him if we can."
Manny also said his brother, trainer Peter Gelagotis, couldn't be happier with how the son of Magnus is coming along this preparation.
"Peter is very, very pleased with him, he's at Moe and he's in great order, big, strong, just like he was a couple of seasons ago when he was really lethal through that Spring Carnival.
"We all know what he's like on his day, he's a deadly horse, so we'll present him nice and fresh this spring and looking forward to stepping him out."
The fan favourite finished third in the G1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) last spring, before feeling the ground when defending his Darley crown, and it looks like he'll target similar races again.
"Overall I think the Manikato looks a nice kick-off point for him," he said.
"Not 100 per cent (sure), there's some nice options, Manikato is one of them and whether he heads to Perth again, the owner is from Perth so there's a few things to work out."
But while they'll have to wait until October to unleash Malaguerra, the Gelagotis stable gets a handy chance to claim another early-season victory when Moss 'N' Dale races in a 1500-metre handicap at The Valley this Saturday.
The honest galloper was impressive two starts ago, finishing second in the Listed Winter Championship at Flemington, before a disappointing fourth placing back at Headquarters last start where he was found to have pulled up sore.
"I thought he was terrific in the Winter Championship, he was very brave as he always is," Gelagotis said.
"Just thought last start his action didn't appear quite right to me, I thought he had the run of the race in behind Theanswermyfriend.
"I thought he was a little bit disappointing for him and there was a few little things that came out of that race which is really good.
"So he'll go to The Valley in good shape and you'd expect him to be hard to beat with the rain around at the moment and a bit of give in the ground."