Underrated Malavio has booked himself a place in the Epsom Handicap with a fighting victory in Saturday’s Group Three Tramway Stakes at Randwick.
For winning jockey Nathan Berry and trainer Steve Englebrecht, Malavio’s win in the 1400m feature was a reward in persistence and patience.
Berry has watched on as his twin brother and fellow jockey Tommy has taken all before him over the past 12 months, winning Group One races including the Golden Slipper on Overreach and Doncaster Mile on Sacred Falls.
Those close to Nathan have reassured him his time would come and after claiming the Run To The Rose last weekend aboard Va Pensiero and Saturday’s Tramway on Malavio, he is finally starting to believe them.
“I’ve heard that for so long,” Berry said.
“I want to thank my fiance Whitney, my parents and Tommy. They all told me it would happen and to just stick at it.”
Englebrecht was also emotional after the win.
The respected horseman, who guided the career of Group One winner Referral, said he had been struggling to find quality horses in recent years.
“I’ve had a pretty lean trot over the last few years and it’s good to get a nice horse back in the stable,” he said.
“You start to doubt yourself and your confidence. You doubt everything.”
Malavio’s win in the Tramway has secured him an Epsom berth with the winner of the race exempt from a ballot for the Group One.
Englebrecht said he would stick to his original plan to go into the October 6 race via the Bill Ritchie Handicap at Randwick on September 21.
In a race dominated by on-pace runners, Malavio, backed from $26 into $17, battled for most of the straight to get the better of Bello ($12) but asserted his authority when it mattered to post a short-head victory.
The narrow defeat was the third for the Darley team in six races with Guelph and Sessions also going down in close finishes.
Royal Descent did best of the chasers for third with her Chris Waller-trained stablemate Sacred Falls an eye-catching fourth.
Victorian Fawkner was a well-supported favourite but never raised the hopes of his backers, settling near-last and making late ground to finish seventh.