Following their commanding Moonee Valley win over the weekend, Ron Leemon’s progressive young stayer Manawanui has deservedly reserved their spot at the top of the odds for this Saturday’s 2011 Victoria Derby, but can they break the hoodoo of Vase winners in the Melbourne Cup Carnival classic?
Oratorio gelding Manawanui has been one of the most consistent and impressive gallopers of the current crop of three-year-olds since their third on debut at Canterbury back in March.
From their maiden run Manawanui went on to win five straight races in Sydney, including the Group 1 Golden Rose where they upset the likes of Smart Missile and Helmet.
Travelling to Melbourne for the first time Manawanui came up against Peter Snowden’s crack runner Helmet again, this time in the Caulfield Guineas, and this time they had to settle for second.
Back to their brilliant best at Moonee Valley last Saturday, however, Manawanui easily accounted for his five rivals in the Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) saluting in his sixth career success and boosting their earnings to over $1.24 million in prize money.
Their impressive Vase win, where Manawanui relaxed wonderfully for hoop Glyn Schofield over the distance, coming from off the speed to wind up the field and run them down with ease, has seen connections confident ahead of the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on the opening day of the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival this Saturday.
2011 Victoria Derby Odds
Pre-Vase success Manawanui was paying $3.40 in the Victoria Derby odds at Luxbet.
They have since been crunched into $2.35.
While their price is short and their talent undeniable, history is against Manawanui heading into the Derby.
The last horse to complete the Vase-Derby double was Efficient back in 2006 who joined Helenus (2002), Plastered (2004) as winners of the double in a space of five years.
In fact, recent history suggests that it is the Vase placegetters and not the winner who hold the upper hand in the VRC Derby.
Twelve months ago Kiwi galloper Lion Tamer, who tragically had to be put down on Cox Plate Day after breaking their hind leg just a week out from the anniversary of their breakthrough Group 1 win, ran second in the AAMI Vase before their blistering six and a half length success in last year’s Victoria Derby.
In 2008 Mark Kavanagh’s champ Whobegotyou won the AAMI Vase but was regulated to second in the Derby by Rebel Raider while 2007 Vase winner Marching also went under to less-heralded rivals in the Derby when third behind Kibbutz and Littorio.
Currently there are 24 horses fighting for a spot in the capacity 16-starter plus four emergency 2011 Victoria Derby field, final acceptances to be taken on Wednesday morning.
Second elect in the betting is eleventh-hour entry Induna paying $6, and it is Snowden’s eye-catching Geelong Classic winner that Leemon rates the biggest danger to Manawanui in the Derby.
“Peter’s the one I have to watch,” he said.
“Whatever Peter (Snowden) puts up against you, you have to watch out for.
“But if (Manawanui) can stay the 2500 metres, I think he will win.”
Placegetters in the Vase that may have another go at Manwanui in the Derby are Collar (2nd), Scelto (3rd) and I Feel Good (4th) – paying $17, $151 and $101 respectively in the Luxbet markets.
Other more fancied competition for Manwanui include Gai Waterhouse’s Encosta De Lago colt Niagara ($7), Kiwi raider Sangster ($10), Geelong Classic third placegetter Perfect Punch ($13) and Michael Moroney’s Norman Robinson Stakes winner Sabrage ($13).
To lock in your early Victoria Derby selections at the best prices before markets firm with the release on the final field on Wednesday, head to Luxbet now and open your new account with Australia’s best bookie quoting the code BONUSBET for a bonus $500 bet!
Latest 2011 AAMI Victoria Derby Field & Ballot
|1||COLLAR (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||3||55.5kg|
|3||COSTLY COMMITMENT||Mick Price||8||55.5kg|
|4||EAGLE COMMAND||Gary Portelli||12||55.5kg|
|5||FAMOUS BY NAME (NZ)||Dean Binaisse||16||55.5kg|
|6||FAST BUCKS||Paul & Tracey Templeton||18||55.5kg|
|7||I FEEL GOOD||Frankie Stockdale||14||55.5kg|
|9||ISOPACH||John P Thompson||2||55.5kg|
|11||MONSILI||Shane A Edwards||23||55.5kg|
|12||MR CHEZ (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||20||55.5kg|
|13||MUSTANG (NZ)||David R Miller||22||55.5kg|
|15||PERFECT PUNCH||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||7||55.5kg|
|16||POWER BROKER (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||17||55.5kg|
|17||RAPIDUS (NZ)||Bart Cummings||19||55.5kg|
|19||SANGSTER (NZ)||Trent Busuttin||6||55.5kg|
|20||SCELTO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||9||55.5kg|
|21||ST CHRISTOPHE (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||24||55.5kg|
|22||THE DEEP SOUTH (NZ)||Michael Moroney||15||55.5kg|
|23||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||21||55.5kg|
|24||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||13||55.5kg|