Malavio ready for Festival Stakes defence
By Caryl Williamson
17:27 AEST Mon Nov 25 2013

Almost a year after his hopes were dashed, Steve Englebrecht has revived his Villiers Stakes mission with Malavio.

The gelding's win in the 2012 Festival Stakes stamped him as a leading contender for the Villiers but he missed the Group Two feature with a leg injury.

Malavio returns to defend the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday with his trainer crossing his fingers all goes well this time around as he heads to next month's Villiers (1600m).

"He is such a big horse we have to keep a close eye on him," Englebrecht said.

"He hits the ground hard. He's 580 kilos when he's rock, hard fit.

"And when we weighed him the other day he was 580 kilos."

Peter Robl will partner Malavio in a work-out on Tuesday with a view to riding him on Saturday.

"He seems to have come through his last race in excellent condition but I just want Peter to ride him work and give his opinion," Englebrecht said.

Malavio has had six starts since his return to racing in August with his best performances a win in the Tramway Stakes (1400m) and fifth in the Group One Epsom Handicap (1600m), just three-quarters of a length from the winner Boban.

Premier trainer Chris Waller will enter four in the Festival - She's Clean, Pipette, Said Com and Tromso - while Joe Pride will make a decision later in the week if Saturday's Randwick winner Terravista takes his place.

Englebrecht considered putting Malavio's half sister She's A Girl in the Festival but has opted for a 1500m benchmark race.

"We will give her a break after Saturday and get her ready for the autumn," he said.

"There are a lot of nice options for her with the way the carnival has been shaped and I think she is up to the better races."

She's A Girl has had three starts this campaign for two wins and the loss of the other race on protest.

Nominations for all races in Australia on Saturday have been extended because of computer problems at RISA, the official body which processes race fields.

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