Saturday’s Up and Coming Stakes winner Manawanui has been added to the 2011 Golden Rose futures odds, the Ron Leemon-trained galloper now third favourite to win the opening Group One race of the Sydney Spring Carnival after their overwhelming return to racing on the weekend.
Oratorio three-year-old Manawanui was ultra impressive on the Heavy 9 Warwick Farm on Saturday, easily defeating a crack field in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m).
Having previously won back-to-back races at Canterbury during the autumn, Manawanui started the clear favourite in the Up And Coming Stakes markets at Luxbet for their first-up spring start.
Although heavily backed and highly-fancied, Manawanui’s four and a half length victory over the David Payne-trained Queenian ($7.50), with Peter Snowden’s Detours a close third, was a pleasant surprise for Leemon and showed just how well positioned they were heading into the spring.
“He’s only about 85 per cent fit and I didn’t expect him to win like that,” Leemon said.
“He went pretty well didn’t he?”
Manawanui’s connections have held a high opinion of the gelding since the start of their career, however they did not nominate the horse for the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m).
They are now considering paying the hefty $50,000 late entry fee to get the galloper into the field for the Rosehill feature on September 10, but only if the jockey that rode them in the Up And Coming Stakes – Glyn Schofield – confirms Manawanui as a genuine chance to become this year’s Golden Rose winner.
“I want to talk to Glyn about it and we will only pay the late entry fee if Glyn thinks the horse can win,” Leemon said.
“There is no pint paying that amount of money if he can’t win the race.”
Schofield admitted that he was surprised by just how effortlessly Manawanui won first-up on Saturday, tipping him as one of the top three-year-olds to watch in the upcoming spring showdowns.
“When we went to Nash Rawiller’s horse (Queenian), he got to the front but was just labouring a little so I gave him one to keep his mind on the job and he accelerated right away from them,” Schofield explained.
“I was pleasantly surprised to see him win by so far.
“He has the speed and brilliance to become a top-class, middle-distance horse.
“He certainly has an interesting spring in front of him.”
With Manawanui having secured a tidy $75,000 in prize money for his Up And Coming Stakes win on the weekend, and with the explicit support of Schofield, there is now every chance connections will add the horse to the list of Golden Rose entries.
“I told Ronnie (trainer Ron Leemon) last Thursday morning at trackwork to use the prizemoney from today’s race to pay the late entry fee,” Schofield said on Saturday.
Jockey aboard runner-up Queenian, Nash Rawiller was also quick to credit the winner and admit his own admiration for Manawanui.
“From the first time I saw this bloke at the trials I thought he was a very good horse,” Rawiller said on Saturday.
“I think he proved that today.”
The bookmakers haven’t waited for the official late entry and Manawanui is now the $8 third favourite behind Smart Missile ($4) and Helmet ($6) in the Luxbet Golden Rose 2011 odds.
Leemon, who secured Manawanui for $45,000 as a yearling at the William Inglis and Son Classic Yearling Sales last year, is also eyeing a possible start down in Melbourne in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8 for his ace asset.
“I think he will get 2000 meters the way he relaxes, so all the options are open,” Leemon said.
“We will wait and make our decision later on when things settle down.”
Punters don’t have to wait, however, with Australia’s leading online bookmaker Luxbet offering the best early Golden Rose odds in Australia.