Last year’s Golden Rose winner Manawanui is progressing well ahead of his return to racing in the 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes at Warwick Farm next month.
After a soft trial at ‘The Farm’ when finishing ninth over 800m back on January 17, Ron Leemon’s $1.27 million earner showed improvement when put through his paces at the same track again on Tuesday morning.
Although not engaged in an official hitout, the Oratorio three-year-old impressed Leemon and showed jockey Glyn Schofield he had come on well since the spring.
“He’s given me every impression that he’s progressed from there,” Schofield said.
Exactly what Manawanui’s pet distance is, Leemon is still working out, the horse having won over distances ranging from 1100m to 2040m in their impressive nine-start career to date.
As a three-year-old they won the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) first-up by an easy four and a half lengths before backing up 21 days later to hang on and defeat Smart Missile in the Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m).
Manawanui went on to add the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill and the Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley to his growing resume, with a devastatingly close second to boom Darley-owned colt Helmet in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) sandwiched in between.
They failed their distance test when Leemon stepped them up to 2500m for the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) last-start at Flemington, Manawanui finishing three and a half lengths away sixth to Sangster.
Leemon has named the $175,000 Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) on February 18 as the first of three race Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign that is geared towards Manawanui running in the 2012 Randwick Guineas.
Between the Royal Sovereign and the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 17 the galloper is set to run second-up in the $200,000 Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 3.
“His major trial will be on February 7,” Leemon said.
“I’m on a bit of a rushed program with him but I’m hoping he’ll be ready for the 18th.”
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