Ron Leemon’s ultra-consistent three-year-old Manawanui has coasted to their sixth career victory at Moonee Valley, taking out Cox Plate Day race four with incredible ease and running the ideal 2011 Victoria Derby trial with a soft win in the $200,000 Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase(2040m).
Already a Group 1 hero after their success in the Golden Rose in Sydney last month, progressive Oratorio gelding Manawanui looked in his best form yet winning the race formerly known as the AAMI Vase.
Different riding tactics from jockey Glyn Schofield in the Vase today showed Manawanui was able to settle and race like a stayer, an excellent indication that they will get to the 2500 metres of the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby next Saturday.
Already sitting at the top of the Derby odds at Luxbet before the Vase, Manawanui is certain to firm in their favouritisim for the three-year-olds classic.
They went out as the deserved odds-on favourite, Manawanui looking very relaxed in the yard pre-race, displaying a real stayers’ attitude and presenting like a true spring carnival contender.
Jumping away from the gates well, Schofield allowed Manawanui to drift back to second last in the Vase while Power Broker carved out the field hitting the front in a strong gallop.
Second pick in the Vase betting, Robert Hickmott’s one-time Derby favourite Collar missed the start by about a length and a half before making up ground to settle into fourth.
In a nice tactical move from Hugh Bowman, Collar was taken up hard and fast up the outside, taking off to whip around and lead at the 100 metres as pacesetter Power Broker begun to drop off the speed.
Manawanui travelled beautifully throughout, moving into fourth at the 800 metre turn, ridden very quietly and given every chance.
Collar lead the field as they approached the turn for home, but Manawanui was quick to chase him down, winding up as the two top elects fought it out around the bend.
Manawanui eventually claimed Collar at the 100 metre mark and in a soft win simply drew away to take the Mitchelton Wines Vase by two and a half lengths from Collar while the Robbie Laing-trained Scelto finished a further length away in third.
It was easy work in the end for the Derby favourite, and while it was a brilliant ride by Bowman trying to make something happen with Collar, the eventual runner-up just didn’t have the class to defeat Manawanui.
“We should be there (in the Victoria Derby) next week,” Leemon said after the race.
“Obviously I will speak to Glyn first and just see how he felt…but I think he should be there.”
After winning five on the trot at home in Sydney, following their third on debut back in March, Manawanui came to Melbourne for the Caulfield Guineas where they ran an eye-catching second beaten a mere nose by 2011 Cox Plate favourite Helmet.
Leemon said that since arriving in Victoria Manawanui had come on well and that there was still plenty of improvement left in him.
“I think he’s matured a little bit mentally…but there is still a little bit of development to go,” he said.
As for the race tactics and being ridden more quietly today, Leemon said the horse showed him exactly what he needed to see from him to prove he was a Derby type.
“We wanted to try and make him settle,” he said.
“He’s done what I would like him to do at this stage.”
After the big Vase win Leemon also held no concerns going into the 2500 metres of the Derby in seven days’ time.
“I don’t think so,” he said about the distance being a query.
“That was easy to watch.”
Schofield, who has been aboard Manawanui for all but one of their career starts to date, was also pleased with what the horse showed him today, confident for the Derby.
“We’ve obviously been mindful that we’ve wanted to ride him like that for some time,” Schofield said.
“Today coming into this race we had the Derby in mind and wanted to switch him off and see how he goes chasing a forward pack.
“I was happy just being at the back.
“He’s done it well.
“I couldn’t pull him up….I felt that past the line that was where he kicked on and did his best work.”
Updated Victoria Derby markets are due to reopen at Luxbet shortly, so get ready to back Manawanui again by opening your account now, and remember to quote the code BONUSBET when making your first deposit for a bonus bet valued up to $500!
2011 Mitchelton Wines Vase Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 4 – 22/10/2011
|1st||1||MANAWANUI(4)||Glyn Schofield||Ron Leemon||57.0||2-7.14|
|2nd||2||COLLAR(5)||Hugh Bowman||Robert Hickmott||57.0||2.5L|
|3rd||3||SCELTO(2)||Dwayne Dunn||Robbie Laing||57.0||3.5L|
|4th||4||I FEEL GOOD(3)||Brenton Avdulla||Frankie Stockdale||57.0||5.5L|
|5th||5||POWER BROKER(1)||Nash Rawiller||Gai Waterhouse||57.0||7.3L|
|6th||6||DANICHI(6)||Danny Nikolic||Michael Templeton||57.0||37.3L|