A $50,000 late entry fee gamble with improving three-year-old Manawanui paid off for trainer Ron Leemon on Saturday who celebrated his maiden Group 1 win as a trainer after his galloper claimed a massive boilover when beating short-priced favourite Smart Missile in the Golden Rose 2011.
In a thrillingly close and controversial finish to the opening elite level of the season, the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) saw the previously undefeated Smart Missile beaten by the narrowest of margins by a horse that only the night before was attracting offers of over a million by interested parties.
Leemon, in the training game for over three decades, rejected offers to sell Manawanui and was rewarded on Saturday with the biggest pay day of his career.
Jockey Glen Boss was furious post-race blaming the inexperience of gun Kiwi apprentice James McDonald, who rode eventual fourth-placegetter Foxwedge ($9.50), for causing interference throughout the race and costing his horse, the Anthony Cummings-trained Smart Missile ($2.10F), the chance to salute for the punters.
The official 2011 Golden Rose result saw Manawanui ($7) score by a short-neck over Smart Missile while the Peter Snowden-trained Helmet ($3.80), who finished three and a half lengths away from the winner, was awarded third place after jockey Kerrin McEvoy lodged a successful protest after also copping interference from Foxwedge and McDonald.
McDonald was later given a seven-meeting suspension for the ride, which will start after he partners with raging favourite Scarlett Lady in this Saturday’s $350,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
Roughie in the Golden Rose betting at Luxbet, Flight Of Pegasus ($91) finished fifth while flop of the race was the Lionel Cohen-trained Aeronautical ($12) who finished nearly five and a half lengths from Manawanui in sixth.
While there was plenty of drama and action throughout the Golden Rose with Helmet missing the jump and the ensuring interference, Manawanui was given a beautiful ride by internationally acclaimed hoop Glyn Schofield who took them to the front early and the horse was able to lead all the way, avoid the traffic, and win their fourth consecutive race.
Manwanui now hasn’t been beaten since their third on debut at Canterbury back in March and is a two-time Group winner having come into the Golden Rose on the back of a devastating four and a half length win in the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) at Warwick Farm.
The $600,000 Golden Rose first prize boosted the gelding’s total career earnings to over $788,000, and saw their odds for the upcoming 2011 Caulfield Guineas in Melbourne slashed from $15 into $7.50 at Luxbet.
Smart Missile may have been beaten, but they were gallant in defeat and unlucky in the run which has seen them overtake Helmet for favouritism in the markets for the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8, Smart Missile at $4 while Helmet is now at $6.50 through Luxbet.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for the latest Caulfield Guineas news and betting updates.
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2011 Golden Rose Finishing Order
|1||4||MANAWANUI||Ron Leemon||Glyn Schofield||–||3||56.5kg||$7|
|2||2||SMART MISSILE||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||0.2L||5||56.5kg||$2.10F|
|3||1||HELMET||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||3.5L||4||56.5kg||$3.80|
|4||3||FOXWEDGE||John O’Shea||James McDonald (a)||3.8L||1||56.5kg||$9.50|
|5||6||FLIGHT OF PEGASUS||Scott Aspery||Chris Munce||4.6L||2||56.5kg||$91|
|6||5||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Nathan Berry||5.4L||6||56.5kg||$12|