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Malavio to press Villiers Stakes claims
Caryl Williamson
06:51 AEST Tue Dec 4 2012

Far from being disappointed with Malavio's Hawkesbury Cup fourth, trainer Steve Englebrecht was encouraged by his tough effort from a wide barrier.

Of more concern was the lack of a suitable race between the November race and this weekend when the four-year-old tackles the Festival Stakes on the way to the Villiers.

Englebrecht opted to give Malavio a short break and tune him up for his next assignment with a barrier trial last week which he duly won.

"I thought it was a great run at Hawkesbury," Englebrecht said.

"Nathan (Berry) had to make a lot of use of him from the bad barrier.

"There wasn't an ideal race to run him in before the Festival so I decided to send him to the farm for a week in the paddock and to use the trial as a lead-up.

"He's pulled up well from it and I'm sure he is ready. I just hope he can draw a decent barrier."

Malavio started from gate 10 of 12 at Hawkesbury and 10 of 13 at his previous start at Rosehill where he finished 10th under 59kg.

The benefit of a good barrier was evident three starts back when Malavio won at Rosehill on October 13.

The Snitzel gelding is out of Win Here Win There who Englebrecht trained a decade ago and his half-sister She's A Girl was also a barrier trial winner last week.

Darci Be Good, Isopach and Praecido were the horses in front of Malavio in the Group Three Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) and the three are also among the 26 nominations for Saturday's Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) which is restricted to a field of 17 plus four emergencies.

Monton, winner of the 2011 Festival-Villiers double is also entered along with last-start Group Three winner Mahisara.

Trained by Paul Messara, Mahisara took out the Sandown Stakes on November 17 to record his sixth win from 15 starts.