Victoria’s premier horseman Peter Moody may have a two-pronged attack in the 2011 Manikato Stakes this Melbourne Spring Carnival after he declared his Exceed And Excel mare Kulgrinda a chance to join their superstar stablemate Black Caviar in the feature following their impressive win at Moonee Valley on the weekend.
Moody was full of praise and quick to label four-year-old Kulgrinda as a Group 1 horse after the stable’s No. 1 hoop Luke Nolen rode her to an imposing two and a half length win in the $100,000 Listed Printhouse Graphics Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Kulgrinda had previously posted a three length win in the Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville in July, and as such started the raging odds-on favourite at $1.70 on Saturday.
She is now being tipped as a horse to watch and back this spring at Australia’s leading bookmaker Luxbet.
Earlier this year as a two-year-old Kulgrinda showed lots of promise winning her opening two career starts before suffering back-to-back losses in February and March, but Moody is now confident they have unlocked her true form.
“We just had to wait for her to mature up,” he said.
“But for probably a little bit of impatience where I pushed on too far into her first preparation she would have been undefeated.”
She has now won four of her six starts and with form at the track, Moody believes the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at the Valley on September 30 is a viable aim for Kulgrinda.
“She (Kulgrinda) is a Group One horse and you’ve got to go to Group One races,” Moody said.
“She is on the road to a very good spring.”
Nolen, who is also the regular rider of six time Group 1 winner Black Caviar, also has a high opinion of Kulgrinda and is confident she can progress to the highest level this prep starting with her likely next-up start in the $200,000 Group 3 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 10.
“She is a superstar,” Nolen said on Saturday.
“In her two-year-old year she was probably the pick of ours but with her maturity she never got there.
“It is very early spring and you can’t get carried away but she was impressive in Adelaide and I thought she was equally impressive today.”
Moody is also considering a Manikato Stakes assignment for Victorian Horse of the Year, the to-date undefeated queen Black Caviar.
While Black Caviar is most likely to resume in the $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on Caulfield Guineas Day, October 8, Moody hasn’t ruled out an earlier return to the turf for the champion.
“We’ve got time up our sleeves, so if I think she needs to go to the 1200 metres first-up, the Manikato is an option,” Moody said.
For all the hottest Melbourne Spring Carnival betting odds and special markets on Black Caviar when she resumes, make sure you have an account open with Luxbet.