2018 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes
Moonee Valley Racecourse
Friday 26th October 2018
Race 7: 9.30pm (AEST)
1200 meters, WFA
X3328 1. BRAVE SMASH (9), J: HUGH BOWMAN, W: 58.5 KGS, 8.50
X2424 2. KEMENTARI (12), J: GLYN SCHOFIELD, W: 58.5 KGS, 5.00
X730X 3. MALAGUERRA (1), J: BEN MELHAM, W: 58.5 KGS, 9.50
12124 4. VOODOO LAD (8), J: MARK ZAHRA, W: 58.5 KGS, 15.00
36972 5. JUNGLE EDGE (6), J: DYLAN DUNN, W: 58.5 KGS, 26.00
88632 6. SPIRIT OF VALOR (14), J: OISIN MURPHY, W: 58.5 KGS, 13.00
02000 7. INTELLIGENCE CROSS (5), J: EMMET MCNAMARA, W: 58.5 KGS, 71.00
291X9 8. U S NAVY FLAG (2), J: RYAN MOORE, W: 58 KGS, 7.00
01309 9. FLEET REVIEW (11), J: KERRIN MCEVOY, W: 58 KGS, 34.00
60X25 10. HOUTZEN (4), J: RYAN MALONEY, W: 56.5 KGS, 8.00
X2514 11. TULIP (10), J: REGAN BAYLISS, W: 56.5 KGS, 34.00
661X3 12. SPRIGHT (13), J: DAMIEN OLIVER, W: 56.5 KGS, 34.00
2X327 13. INVINCIBLE STAR (7), J: STEPHEN BASTER, W: 56.5 KGS, 17.00
3X211 14. SUNLIGHT (3), J: TIM CLARK, W: 51 KGS, 4.60
Form and Predictions
The prelude to Saturday’s W.S Cox Plate day is the Friday night meeting under lights for the Group 1 sprint: the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. The race is named in honour of the legendary Australian sprinter from the 80’s, Manikato, who was one of the first million dollar earners back when prize money wasn’t so lucrative as it is now.
The major talking point of this years race is the line-up of four Aidan O’Brien gallopers, who have all made their way across from Ireland to compete in some of these rich sprinting events down under.
Of course we saw US NAVY FLAG run bravely on a bog track up in Sydney for the running of The Everest two weeks ago. He’ll be on a better track condition wise, but can he handle the tight turning corners of Moonee Valley? Ryan Moore has won on this course previously, piloting top colt Adelaide to win the 2014 W.S Cox Plate. He knows what to do.
The other major O’Brien horse is SPIRIT OF VALOR. He had a useful first-up second on Caulfield Stakes day two weeks ago, but this presents a tougher quality field. He has the widest draw though, so that won’t help. The other two INTELLIGENCE CROSS and FLEET REVIEW I couldn’t have.
The two they’ll have to watch include the exciting three-year-old filly SUNLIGHT who is using this as a stepping stone to other races in a couple of weeks time. From a good barrier draw, she’ll be on the speed, but she’s up against some older and smart sprinters who have been there and done that.
The other is Godolphin’s KEMENTARI, a horse who seems to make his own luck. I don’t think Godolphin have quite worked out what his pet distance is. He’s a Group 1 winner over 1600m, but in terms of his races, he always seems to join the party just as it’s finishing. If he races closer to the speed and can unleash that powerful burst he’s known for, then he’s in with a chance. He’ll be second favourite I suspect.
The surprise runner is dual Group 1 winner MALAGUERRA. This bloke has been off the racecourse for a year, so will come in fresh as a daisy. He ran third in this race last year, but out of action for so long, and racing against a quality field is a very tall order.
The two Darren Weir runners BRAVE SMASH and VOODOO LAD are the pair I would be investing some money on. Both are high quality sprinters who just so happen to like the Moonee Valley course, judging by their past performances here. Brave Smash ran a place in the Moir Stakes a few weeks back over 1000m but didn’t feature in The Everest on a soaking wet track. Meanwhile, Voodoo Lad is always an honest type and should be considered for your wider exotics.
The last featured horse in this preview is the Queenslander HOUTZEN. Like Brave Smash, he was a fast finishing fifth in the Moir Stakes, and it appears on the back of that effort that punters have elephantine memories, and have kept him right up in the pecking order at $8.00 odds. Trainer Toby Edmonds is flying at the moment, with some of his other charges leading the way. A Houtzen victory would be the icing on the cake.
Betting Gods Picks
US Navy Flag – 1pt win @ 7.50 Betfair SB, PaddyPower
Kementari – 1pt win @ 5.00 Betfair SB, PaddyPower
Sunlight – 1pt win @ 4.50 PaddyPower, Betfair SB
Video Reference Guide
2018 Moir Stakes (Brave Smash, Spright, Jungle Edge, Houtzen)