3 minute read
He's racing's headline-maker, a stayer so exciting he has already been described as the new Might And Power.
But is Maldivian the real deal? Is he ready to live up to the hype?
Perhaps the answers may come at Caulfield when Maldivian contests the Group I $400,000 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
The early betting suggests Maldivian won't have any trouble winning his second major with TAB's fixed odds arm rating him the $2.20 favourite while the rest of the field are at $10 or longer.
However, it's worth remembering Hall of Famer Might And Power could not win this race - beaten into third place behind Special Dane 10 years ago.
The Orr field might lack a genuine top-class sprinter but the race is not short of quality. The 16-horse field includes 10 individual Group I winners headed by Maldivian, Fiumicino, Niconero, Valedictum, Sirmione, Tears I Cry, Teranaba, Rubiscent, Princess Coup and Cinque Cento.
And even trainer Mark Kavanagh is unusually cautious about "Big Mal's" chances.
"He's never won at 1400m and he's never won second-up from a spell," Kavanagh said of Maldivian.
"He's a big, gross horse who takes a few runs to come right. He might win but normally history shows he takes three runs."
Maldivian ran a blinder first-up, finishing second behind Let Go Thommo in the Carlyon Stakes.
It was Maldivian's first public outing since he was a sensational scratching at the barriers when hot favourite for the Caulfield Cup last spring after he struck his head on an unauthorised piece of television equipment that was installed in his barrier.
A week earlier, Maldivian thrashed Miss Finland and Anamato in the Group I Yalumba Stakes and a new star was born in Australian racing.
Respected form guru Gary Crispe, founder of Racing And Sports and the compiler of the official Australian Timeform ratings, revealed Maldivian earned a 125 rating with his Yalumba win which already places the gelding among the nation's elite gallopers.
Crispe believes Maldivian could end the season as the nation's best racehorse.
"Maldivian and the three-year-old, Weekend Hussler, are the horses with the potential I believe to improve their ratings further during the autumn," Crispe said.
"They are both lightly raced and showed their ability during the spring with each reaching Timeform ratings of 125.
"Of the horses still in training, Miss Andretti is the pick of them at 127, following by Takeover Target and Marasco at 126.
"But the form of that trio is well exposed and I don't know if they can increase their ratings."
Crispe said Maldivian could dominate the feature weight-for-age events during the Melbourne and Sydney autumn carnivals.
"With the Cox Plate winner El Segundo out injured, the opposition is a little thin," he said.
"Once Maldivian gets to 1600m and further, he is going to be very hard to beat in anything.
"He's a typical, slow-maturing Zabeel who has had just 17 starts and is only now starting to realise his potential."
Meanwhile, Weekend Hussler, the runaway Caulfield Guineas winner, will have an exhibition gallop between races at Caulfield.
Online article taken from the Fox Sports, Author, Ray Thomas.