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A fortnight ago Ron Leemon’s progressive three-year-old Manawanui claimed a massive upset when they defeated crack colt Smart Missile in the Golden Rose, and this Saturday they are back at the Rosehill track as the drawcard Stan Fox Stakes 2011 entry.
There were just seven three-year-olds nominated for the $250,000 Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) this year, Manawanui set to start the short-priced favourite in the Luxbet markets come Saturday.
The Oratorio gelding has to date won four of their five career starts including the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) by an emphatic four-and-a-half lengths, which they won first-up on way to their Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) victory.
Beaten Golden Rose favourite, Anthony Cummings’ Smart Missile won’t get the chance to turn the tables on Manawanui just yet as they race at Caulfield this Saturday making their Melbourne debut in either the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) or the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
Meanwhile, Manawanui will enjoy a huge step back in class on Saturday from the quality of competition they faced and defeated in the Rose.
The pair will come face-to-face again on October 10 in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), Smart Missile leading the futures odds on the three-year-olds classic at $4.20 through Luxbet while Manawanui is equal $7 second elect with the Peter Snowden-trained Helmet who is nominated for the Guineas Prelude this weekend.
“He had a quiet week after his (Golden Rose) win and he is getting closer to his optimum racing weight,” Leemon said of Manawanui.
“This run (in the Stan Fox Stakes) will bring him on again for the Guineas.”
Jockey Glyn Schofield retains the ride on Manawanui on Saturday and is excited for the horse to show their Golden Rose victory was no fluke.
“I don’t think in any way was it a flash in the pan or a fluke that he won the Golden Rose and hopefully he’ll prove that again this spring,” Schofield said.
“He runs again next Saturday, it’ll be great to get back on him, and then two weeks after that is the Caulfield Guineas and he’s on track for that.”
Of the six other 2011 Stan Fox Stakes nominations, the next best-rated runners are Clarry Conners’ last-start Newcastle winner Irish Times and the John Thompson-trained Magic Albert gelding Isopach, a stakes winner at Morphettville last seas but coming off a disastrous first-up failure at Flemington on September 3.
Another horse not to be underestimated, however, is the Brian Smith-trained State Of Wealth.
A lightly-raced Ad Valorem colt, State Of Wealth has had three starts for two wins to date in Queensland and steps out for their first interstate assignment in the Stan Fox on Saturday.
Smith is using the Stan Fox as a guide to whether State Of Wealth, currently rated a $101 roughie at Luxbet for the Caulfield Guineas, is deserving of the Group 1 assignment in Melbourne next month.
“If he can get within two lengths of Manwanui then we know we’ve got a very good horse, but if he happens to beat him then he’d definitely be a top Caulfield Guineas chance,” Smith said.
Rounding out the Stan Fox Stakes 2011 nominations are David Payne’s well-bred Testa Rossa gelding Cocky Raider; and the David Hayes-trained duo of Magic Albert filly Roma Giaconda and Whisper Downs, both coming off last-start wins.
The Stan Fox Stakes final field and barrier draw will be out tomorrow and published first here at Races.com.au.
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2011 Stan Fox Stakes Nominations
|1||COCKY RAIDER||David Payne|
|2||IRISH TIMES||Clarry Conners|
|3||ISOPACH||John P Thompson|
|5||ROMA GIACONDA||David Hayes|
|6||STATE OF WEALTH||Brian Smith|
|7||WHISPER DOWNS||David Hayes|
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