Superstar colt Sepoy and reigning New South Wales Horse of the Year More Joyous top the list of 2011 Manikato Stakes nominations ahead of the iconic Moonee Valley feature to run under the lights this Friday night.
The $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), won last year by the currently-sidelined gun galloper Hay List, attracted a dozen hopefuls at nomination stage today.
Sure to open as the odds-on favourite in the Manikato Stakes 2011 odds at Australia’s premier online bookmaker Luxbet is the Peter Snowden-trained Sepoy.
Winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double as a juvenile, Darley-owned hero Sepoy is undefeated this season having won the Vain Stakes and Danehill Stakes back-to-back.
They are now gearing up for their open-age debut in the Manikato, Snowden and connections confident that Sepoy has the pace and ability to outclass their older rivals on Friday night in their first official start at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit.
The other big-name Manikato Stakes entry is Gai Waterhouse’s resuming glamour mare More Joyous.
A five-time Group 1 winning daughter of More Than Ready, five-year-old More Joyous hasn’t been under race conditions since mid-April when she injured herself when running 11th to Sacred Choice on a Heavy (10) track at Randwick in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.
Having made a full recovery much faster than expected, More Joyous showed she was fit and set for a strong spring winning a Rosehill barrier trial over 1030 metres last month and Waterhouse is eagerly awaiting her turf return in the Manikato where she will vie for her fifth first-up victory from six attempts over her illustrious career.
“She is the supreme athlete,” Waterhouse said of her well-built and beautifully-bred mare.
“She is one of those horses you dream about having in the yard.”
While bullish that More Joyous is back to her best, Waterhouse was also quick to give praise to the exciting Sepoy.
“He’s probably the most exciting young horse since Luskin Star,” Waterhouse said.
“It’s the sort of clash you dream about (Sepoy v More Joyous).
“More Joyous is all class and has been there and done it before.
“She has a sexy page for stud already but this will only add to it.
“He (Sepoy) is the champion three-year-old, the wonder boy, but he has to measure up to the older horses.
“She will be there waiting for him.
“What a great way to start a busy weekend.”
Another spruik mare nominated for the Manikato Stakes 2011 is the Peter Moody-trained Kulgrinda, the Exceed And Excel four-year-old having won a 1000 metre sprint at the Valley last month before her last-start fourth in the Group 3 McEwen Stakes (1000m).
Other noteworthy 2011 Manikato Stakes nominees include John Sadler’s last-start Group 3 How Now Stakes winning mare Sister Madly, Group 1 The Galaxy champion Atomic Force, Brisbane galloper Buffering coming off a win in the McEwen and former Hong Kong galloper Happy Zero.
There are four Group race features running at Moonee Valley this Friday evening, final fields for which will be released on Wednesday and published right here at Races.com.au.
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2011 Manikato Stakes Nominations & Ratings
|1||ANABAA’S LEGACY (NZ)||Dean Binaisse||78|
|2||ATOMIC FORCE||Darren Smith||109|
|4||CURTANA||Peter G Moody||100|
|5||EIGHT BILLS||Gary Portelli||92|
|6||HAPPY ZERO||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||114|
|7||KULGRINDA||Peter G Moody||99|
|8||LADY LYNETTE||David & Scott Brunton||106|
|9||MORE JOYOUS (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||122|
|10||RUE MAPLE||Darren Weir||90|
|12||SISTER MADLY||John Sadler||105|