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Bendigo Guineas return for Mandalay Bay

Injury curtailed Victoria Derby aspirations for lightly raced Mandalay Bay in the spring but trainer Matt Laurie is hoping the gelding can still make an impact in the Queensland equivalent.

Mandalay Bay resumes in Saturday’s Listed Bendigo Guineas (1400m) having not raced since his sixth in the Group Two Bill Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley in September at his fourth start.

“He wrenched his hind fetlock quite badly leading into the Caulfield Classic and needed a fair amount of time to recover from that,” Laurie said.

“Hence he’s probably a little bit behind the eight-ball, but he seems good now.”

The Stutt was won by Hey Doc who went on to win the Australian Guineas while subsequent Randwick Guineas winner Inference was fourth.

Laurie said he had been keen to progress towards the Victoria Derby if not for injury.

“I really thought he would have run top five in the Victoria Derby, and I would have run him in that if we had a chance,” Laurie said.

“So I’m hoping that he might be able to venture north and have a run in some better three-year-old races.”

Laurie said ideally that would include the Queensland Derby (2400m).

“If he’s not quite up to it then so be it, there’ll be other three-year-old races up there to have a go at,” he said.

Mandalay Bay won an 800m trial at Cranbourne on March 6 and rather than trial him again, Laurie opted for an 1100m race at Ballarat on March 21.

But the final two races at the meeting, including Mandalay Bay’s event, were called off after a downpour meaning he missed a planned lead-up to Saturday.

He also has the outside barrier.

“I would have liked to have had a run under his belt going into a 1400 metre race because he’s only had that one half-mile trial,” Laurie said.

“So I’m a little bit questionable as to whether he’ll be ready.

“He’ll be ridden just in a manner where he’s happy from that gate and just give him a chance to finish off.”

Laurie has scratched Cranbourne Cup winner Master Reset from Saturday’s Golden Mile because he drew the outside gate.

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