North Queensland is a popular destination for horses struggling in Sydney but Our Boy Malachi will reverse the trend when he heads to Rosehill.
The winner of 13 of his 15 starts, the six-year-old from Rockhampton comes to Sydney with a record few horses can boast.
He is a $2.10 favourite to maintain his winning strike rate when he makes his debut for Hawkes Racing in Saturday’s Turner Freeman Lawyers Flying (1100m).
“The owners decided it was the right time to take on the big smoke,” co-trainer Michael Hawkes said.
“He was probably starting to get weighted out of races up there and the next progression was to come down here.”
Beaten on debut at Mackay in 2011, Our Boy Malachi won his next start at Gympie by 11 lengths.
It was the beginning of a winning sequence that lasted for almost three years until he suffered his only other defeat when fifth in the Listed Bribie Handicap at Doomben in May.
He was spelled after claiming his second successive Rockhampton Newmarket in June and has been under the supervision of the in-form Hawkes stable ever since.
Hawkes concedes the step up to Sydney grade will pose a challenge but he has seen enough from Our Boy Malachi on the track and in two barrier trials to convince him the horse can make the transition.
“It’s how you manage them as well,” he said.
“We’re patient with our horses and give them the time they need.”
Stablemate Agent will be among Our Boy Malachi’s five rivals in a race light on numbers but not intrigue.
The evergreen Zaratone kicks off his campaign in the sprint, as do multiple stakes winner Dances On Stars and Villiers Stakes hopeful Scream Machine.