Malaguerra’s victory in the BTC Cup at Doomben was a Group 1 first for owner Bruno Micalizzi and FBAA member Lenny Russo.
The rising sprinter has graduated from a Benchmark 70 at Ballarat to win 7 of his 9 starts since August. The BTC Cup victory boosted his Timeform rating to 120, a three-pound improvement on his previous best when winning the G3 Star Kingdom Stakes at Rosehill in March.
It was also the first Group 1 win for co-trainer Lee Freedman since Speed Gifted in the 2009 Metropolitan Hcp at Randwick.
Malaguerra is Micalizzi’s first racehorse and is named after the boat his father Gaetano built following the family’s arrival from Italy. “Dad was tough and never gave in and Malaguerra was an ancient war-hero from Sicily. The name couldn’t be more fitting.
“I stood right on the winning post at Doomben and the first thing I thought of was my father as they crossed the line. It was really something special.
“I’ve always liked horses but had had nothing to do with them until I went out to the yearling sales. It was a spur of the moment decision and I met some really lovely people. Later on, I asked Lenny to find me a horse.”
Russo had worked in the thoroughbred industry for several years before starting out Bluegrass Bloodstock at Moonee Ponds. “Malaguerra really stood out as a yearling,” Russo explained. “He had a real presence about him. Not a big horse – maybe that’s why he didn’t pass muster for others – but very well balanced.
“I just thought he’d be the type to mature quicker than most. He actually reminded me a lot of Magnus. I loved him as a racehorse and he’s doing a great job at stud.”
Malaguerra has parlayed a $22,000 price-tag as a yearling into $758,000 in prizemoney. And there’s the promise of a $1 million pay-day to come for Micalizzi in the G1 Stradbroke Hcp next month.
Federation of Bloodstock Agents Australia (FBAA) members can be identified by the acronym FBAA appearing after their name on the purchasers list at public sales. The public can also review our Code of Ethics and member profiles on our website here.