This month’s 2011 Manikato Stakes looks to belong to Peter Snowden’s ace colt Sepoy with the news Victorian premiership winning trainer Peter Moody is unlikely to resume superstar mare Black Caviar in the early spring sprint.
Punters and racing fans around Australia have been awaiting news of whether a scintillating clash between Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper winner Sepoy and turf queen Black Caviar would indeed take place in the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on September 30.
After initial reports from camp Moody that his six-time winning Bel Esprit mare Black Caviar was making excellent progress and could be on track for a surprise early spring return in the Manikato, the latest is that she will be saved for the $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 8 – Caulfield Guineas Day.
Tentative Manikato Stakes 2011 odds have Black Caviar odds-on favourite at $1.70, but listed as a doubtful acceptor.
Sepoy follows at a quote of $3, with More Joyous the next best chance paying $7 to become the 2011 Manikato Stakes winner.
It seems more likely that Black Caviar will follow the exact spring programme she did 12 months ago, her three-start Melbourne Carnival campaign culminating with the first of her record-breaking six consecutive Group 1 victories in the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
Last year Black Caviar kicked off with a win in the Schillaci before beating the since-passed Hot Danish by over five lengths in the Group 2 Schweppes Stake (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
“I’m going to follow the same program as last spring with the mare,” Moody confirmed.
“The only reason I would deviate from that plan was if I didn’t think she was sharp enough for 1000 metres (in the Schillaci Stakes first-up).”
She rejoins Moody’s Caulfield stables this coming Monday to recommence full training ahead of the spring, but Moody won’t rush the progress of his frontrunner.
“The Manikato is a big carrot, the race is worth a lot of money,” Moody admitted.
“But it is the hardest 1200 metres for a horse who is first-up.
“It is a very testing 1200 metre.
“Black Caviar would be going into that race on the soft side which could make her vulnerable.”
Moody won’t be without a Manikato Stakes representative this year, however, naming his exciting Exceed And Excel mare Kulgrinda as a nice chance in the feature.
“I have another nice mare in Kulgrinda who I think will run well in the Manikato,” he said.
Kulgrinda is equal $7 odds with More Joyous for the Manikato Stakes after winning a Listed 1000 metre sprint at the Valley a fortnight ago, a cruisy victory that left her with plenty in the tank.
With back-to-back Schillaci Stakes wins the focus for the ‘Black Flash’, Sepoy looks better positioned than ever to become a triple elite level winner in the Manikato when he faces older company for the first time.
After an effortless and emphatic first-up win as a three-year-old in the Vain Stakes three weeks ago, Sepoy is set to run second-up this Saturday in the $250,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Facing a classy, but beatable, field of seven rivals Sepoy is the raging Danehill Stakes favourite at $1.20 through Luxbet.
Still, Snowden knows that nothing in racing, especially a win, is guaranteed and isn’t discounting any of Sepoy’s challenges on Saturday especially the fillies – Golden Slipper runner-up Mosheen ($8) and Peter Moody’s Blue Diamond runner-up Hallowell Belle ($8).
“How Sepoy goes in the Danehill is significant because it will determine whether he goes to the Manikato Stakes,” Snowden said.
“He’s good, everything is fine.
“His work has been good and it was good on Tuesday and I’m very good with the horse.
“But it’s no easy task.
“He’s got to give good fillies five kilos (as the 58kg topweight) so it’s no easybeat, but he’s a quality horse and I’m happy with him.”
To view the full Danehill Stakes field and odds for Saturday’s feature Flemington race and to get in on the early futures betting for the upcoming Group Ones this spring, head to Luxbet.