Jockey Glyn Schofield is confident that a $50,000 venture by connections of his Golden Rose 2011 ride will pay off on Saturday, labelling Manawanui – brave or courageous in Maori – a genuine chance to defeat race favourite Smart Missile.
Trainer Ron Leemon paid a hefty late entry to get progressive Oratorio gelding Manawanui into the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) this year, a gamble Schofield believes will be well worth it come Saturday afternoon.
A small but gifted field of just six three-year-olds were accepted for the 2011 Golden Rose, giving Manawanui a one in six chance of securing the lucrative $600,000 first prize on offer to the winner of the opening Group One race of the season.
Manawanui, however, only needs to run fourth or better to win connections back the $50,000 late entry, a feat they look very capable of achieving.
“There is a lot of quality in the field but (Manawanui) has the ability to be there,” Schofield said.
The lightly-raced Manawanui has won three of their four races to date, most impressive of which was their last-start victory in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm on August 20.
Working their way up through a seven-horse field after settling just worse than midfield, Manawanui looked effortless when coasting to a four and a half length victory over Queenian in the Up & Coming Stakes, earning them a shot at Group 1 glory in the Rose.
Schofield has been aboard Manawanui for three of their four runs, including their Warwick Farm win, and rates him as being on par with some of the best horses he’s ridden.
“I rode So You Think here and Hay list but he (Manawanui) is right up there,” Schofield said.
“When I first got on him he reminded me a lot of Hay List because he’s so big and bulky.
“Let’s just hope there isn’t a Black Caviar for him to chase.”
Currently Manawanui occupies the third line of Golden Rose 2011 betting at Luxbet paying $7 to upset odds-on favourite Smart Missile ($1.80) and Darley’s two-time Group 1 champion Helmet ($4.20).
“It’s not who they’re talking about leading into the race that matters, it’s who is in the papers on Sunday that counts,” Schofield warned.
Rounding out the Golden Rose contenders and odds for this year are Sydney stakes winner Aeronautical ($8.50), the John O’Shea-trained Foxwedge ($9) and Scott Aspery’s long-shot Flight Of Pegasus ($41).
Whether you fancy Smart Missile to maintain their Black Caviar-like dominance and remain undefeated on Saturday, or you believe there’s more value in the field with an upset, head to Luxbet for the best Golden Rose odds.