Injury has robbed O’Malley of the chance to show his full potential but his trainer Enver Jusufovic thinks conditions are right for the gelding’s return at Moonee Valley.
The seven-year-old will be having his 16th start on Saturday when he runs in the Listed Carlyon Stakes.
The gelding finished third behind Heatherly and Viddora in last year’s 1000m sprint after an 18-month break.
He races with two screws in his off-side knee and Jusufovic says O’Malley’s other knee is now starting to play up.
“The bone structure is good. It’s cartilage,” Jusufovic said.
“It’s whether he feels it on the day. I’m hoping the soft track and adrenaline will get him through it.
“How he goes under pressure, I’ll have to wait and see.
“A horse of his talent, if he was able to stand up, he would have been a Group One horse.
“Whether he would have won one or not I’m not sure, but he certainly had the ability.”
O’Malley hasn’t run since finishing sixth in a Flemington straight race behind Lake Como in June.
Jusufovic points to the firmness at Flemington for O’Malley’s average performances at his past two starts.
He said the gelding appreciated the soft ground first-up at Caulfield in April when a closing fourth.
But Moonee Valley is O’Malley’s track these days.
He gave Jusufovic a special moment with victory on Cox Plate day last year, in front of a big crowd.
“Moonee Valley presents the right track for him and it was a soft track last year,” Jusufovic said.
“It’s a lovely race on paper on Saturday with plenty of speed.
“Heatherly will be in the gates for a while and she can be fractious and I believe needs to lead to win.
“With the rail back in the true position it might suit the swoopers which in turn will help us if he lets down.”
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