The McEvoy trained filly is yet to miss a placing in 10 career starts in a career that has already seen her race in four states. A winner of the Magic Millions Classic at two, she then finished a game 3rd to Estijaab in the Golden Slipper. Sent for a spell, she returned in the final week of her 2YO season to take on the Listed Lighting Stakes at Morphettville which was promoted as a match race with the airborne Nature Strip. After jumping out to an early lead in that, she couldn’t sustain the speed in finishing 2nd over the 1050m scamper, beaten almost six lengths. Taken to the G3 Quezette over the Caulfield 1100m next start, she appreciated getting back to her own age in scoring a stylish win under 58.5kg. Kept on fresh with 56 days between runs, she then scored a 1.25 length victory when rolling along in front over 1200m. Tim Clark takes the ride for the first time to make the 51kg with the filly needing to re-write history to score, with no 3YO filly ever winning this race.
It will be some training performance from Peter Gelagotis if he can lead Malaguerra in for the third Group 1 victory of his career. The gelding has not been seen under race conditions since November of 2017 and comes into this race without an official barrier trial. Malaguerra had a three-start Spring campaign in 2017 that started in the G1 Moir Stakes. Forced to start from the widest gate in a 13 horse field, under the circumstances it was a big run to get within two lengths of the winner She Will Reign. Second-up into the Manikato, he again drew the widest gate in the field of 9. Last at the 400m he charged home in the closing stages to finish 3rd and only a half-length from the winner Hey Doc. His final run came in the Darley Classic down the Flemington Straight Six when he was well below his best. At The Valley 1200m trip he has started twice for a G2 Australia Stakes victory and the 3rd in this race last year. While first-up has the slick figures of 7: 5-1-0 and finally lands a marble, starting from barrier 1
The Weir trained Voodoo Lad has started 3 times at The Valley and been able to win two of those outings. He is deep into his prep for this and faces a stern test, but his Love of The Valley from a handy gate keeps him under notice. After taking on The Good wood first-up, he then went to the Stradbroke where he never handled the heavy track. Returning to Melbourne he claimed the G3 John Monash when finishing strongly from the rear in the small field. A 2nd to Vega Magic in the G3 Bletchingly followed before claiming the Aurie’s Star at Flemington under 59kg. Carrying 58kg in The heath over 1100m he was well supported and was a long way back and just couldn’t quite reel in Ball Of Muscle who controlled the race from the front. His only ‘failure’ at The Valley came in the 2017 Moir when under two lengths from the winner She Will Reign, with the other two victories both over 1200m. His overall 1200m record is strong at 13: 4-5-1 and Mark Zahra takes the ride from gate 8, his only other ride the Bletchingly 2nd.
The Toby Edmonds team is firing in Melbourne already this Spring and the stable star Houtzen will look to add a maiden Group 1 victory to her Magic Millions 2YO classic title. It seems odd that a Queensland trained mare would be well suited at The Valley, however that is the case with Houtzen. From 4 attempts at the track she has returned the figures of 4: 1-1-1, with the ‘miss’ coming at her latest start in the G1 Moir Stakes when finishing 3.3 lengths from the winner Viddora. Returning for her Spring assault at The Valley in the G2 McEwen Stakes, Ryan Maloney was having his first race start aboard the mare and positioned on the speed, was finishing strongly to run the winner Nature Strip to a half-head. Second-up in the Moir, again at 1000m, not much went in the favour of the I Am Invincible mare who looked to be travelling strongly but was inconvenienced first by Ball Of Muscle who was a tiring leader and then she couldn’t quite get into a gap. A three-time winner at 1200m, one of those wins is here at The Valley when claiming the G3 Champagne Stakes.
Named in honour of former champion sprinter Manikato, the Manikato Stakes is held at the tight turning Moonee Valley Racecourse, a track where Manikato had fantastic success. Awarded Group 2 status in 1979 the race was upgraded to the elite level of G1 in 1989. First held in 1968 as the Freeway Stakes, the name was changed in 1984 to the current title.
Run over 1200m under weight-for-age conditions, the Moonee Valley Race Club have positioned the race to be held on the Friday night, Cox Plate eve. Moonee Valley’s three premier sprint races are now all held in the night time slot, with the G1 Manikato, G1 William Reid and the G1 A J Moir all being held under lights.
The 2018 edition will offer $1m in prizemoney with the winner to receive $600,000. The 2017 winner was the Tony McEvoy trained Hey Doc, ridden by Luke Currie. Other winners include Chautauqua, Buffering, Hay List, Miss Andretti, Sunline and the dual winners Spark Of Life and Spinning Hill.
Odds and previews are available for all the major Spring Racing Carnival races at UBET's Spring Racing Betting Hub.
|Date:||Friday 26th October 2018|
|Race Time:||21:30 AEDT|
|Location:||Moonee Valley Racecourse|
|2017 Winner:||Hey Doc|
|Market:||2018 Manikato Stakes Odds|