MALAGUERRA won the Darley Classic on Saturday — months of planning and trust in a horse that has delivered so much promise in a short time by his trainer Peter Gelagotis and his owner Bruno Micalizzi.

It was Malaguerra’s day with the $9.50 chance, ridden by Ben Melham, holding off the desperate late surge from Spieth ($8.50) to win by a short-head with Fell Swoop ($9) a long-neck away third. Our Boy Malachi started $6 favourite and ran 10th.

Gelagotis took over the training of Malaguerra this spring and was on a hiding to nothing as the sprinter had won the Group 1 BTC Cup for Lee and Anthony Freedman last autumn however delivered the Gippsland based trainer his biggest win to date landing his 2nd Group 1 winner after stable stalwart Mourinho landed the Underwood Stakes during the previous spring carnival.

“The horse came from Queensland and I felt we didn’t need to improve this horse, he was already proven and all I had to do was maintain the level of performance that he has previously shown however winning this race probably exceeded the epectations of everyone but not me and the Malaguerra team behind the scenes as there was a strong belief the horse was going super in track work and trials’’ Gelagotis said.

“Ben Melham has given me so much confidance everytime he has thrown his leg over him continually telling me the horse has improved and that he could feel so much more under the hood which really gave us the confidance to give him a spring sprinting campaign targeting the Darley/Winterbottom Double and so far things have gone to plan with a little luck along the way" said Gelagotis

“We have been given a job by the owner and the relief now has been worth the wait and the hard work by all my team has delivered a massive result for all parties concerned .’’

The Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield signalled to all that Malaguerra was back to his best with a horribly unlucky 2nd to gun 3yo Star Turn after covering plenty of ground in the run to finish a very strong 2nd leaving behins some very talented sprinters including Fell Swoop who later franked the form in the Manikato Stakes.

"Peter & Manny have been telling me for months that Malaguerra will win a big feature and the professionalism of the stable from day one has been above expectation and the staff and my jockey Ben Melham have to be commended on executing a very strong plan from months away and to win the Darley Classic is a dream come true and I thank everyone for there hard work" said Micalizzi

Its now onto the Winterbottom Stakes in Perth to hopefully give Micalizzi a home town Group 1 win in Perth and lets hope we can hear the same tune from the Presentation yard at Flemington - ma ma ma malaguerra - ma ma ma malaguerra ahhhh Malaguerra !