Manawanui is the one the punters want in the supercharged Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 at Warwick Farm on Saturday, Ron Leemon’s resuming champ firming in their favouritism to win first-up against a piping hot field of fellow three-year-olds.
They face a very strong field full of depth, but after flying to a two and a half length barrier trial over 1030-metres at Rosehill on February 7 and drawing barrier one for the set-weights clash Manawanui really is hard to go past.
There are plenty of other gallopers in the Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 that could prove to have the x-factor including Peter Moody’s unbeaten Moment Of Change.
Last seen putting four lengths on their Sandown rivals over 1300-metres in September, the boom Barley A Moment gelding is a slight Royal Sovereign Stakes market drifter out from $3.40 to $3.60 through Luxbet despite the hype and their ideal gate three draw.
“A nice colt,” Moody said summing up his opinion of Moment Of Change.
“He has got to improve, he is going up in grade, taking on the likes of Manawanui and co, but he is going very well at home.”
Other gallopers that have firmed in their price to score an upset Royal Sovereign Stakes result include Guy Walter’s resuming Spring Champion Stakes winner Doctor Doom ($51 into $26 Luxbet) and the Peter Snowden-trained Free Wheeling ($13 into $10 Luxbet).
Ad Valorem colt Free Wheeling hasn’t been seen since their failure in the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm last June after getting caught under the barriers, before which they broke their maiden status with a win in the Group 2 Champagne Classic (1200m) at Doomben.
“He has done well, had two trials and furnished into a really nice horse,” Snowden said.
“He doesn’t seem to have taken any affect from what happened that day (at Brisbane) but he has drawn an awkward gate (for Saturday).
“I would have liked to have had him a bit closer.
“He’ll be at his best at the mile, but he’ll be competitive on Saturday.”
Snowden is hopeful that the punters are right in backing the three-year-old, but also knows that the Royal Sovereign Stakes 2012 is the strongest edition of the race seen in many years.
“The hardest race of the day, a very, very good race,” Snowden said.
“A lot of reputations enhance, made or dented, the state of the autumn carnival and the best race of the day.”
Snowden’s second representative in the Royal Sovereign Stakes field on Saturday, Ambidexter, has not enjoyed the same early support as their stablemate and have eased out from $26 to $31 at Luxbet.
The Commands colt races for the first time since their eye-catching fourth to Doctor Doom in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 1, and Snowden knows they are vulnerable over the 1200-metres.
“He’ll come into his own when the races get a bit longer,” Snowden said.
The improving price on WA visitor King Saul is somewhat surprising to his Ascot trainer Trevor Andrews, the Flying Pegasus gelding having been a huge revelation for the stable during the summer.
After a win in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) King Saul went on to run a brave third behind Playing God in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) on December 3.
They showed they were in top form when finishing only a short-head away third to Playing God again in a resuming trial at Ascot over 1000-metres and Andrews is excited ahead of their interstate debut on Saturday.
“He’s done super,” Andrews said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s travelled and settled in.
“It’s a very tough ask this weekend. It’s a hot field.
“He’s an off-the-ace, run-on horse and there’s quite a lot of speed in the race.
“As long as he can get balanced and find a bit of rhythm and hit the line, I think he will benefit from the run and it should suit him when he steps up over ground.”
The top tier of Royal Sovereign Stakes hopes, including King Saul, are heading towards the $500,000 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) on March 17, and Andrews hopes to have a better picture of where his horses sits for that race after Saturday.
“Manawanui has been very impressive against the likes of Helmet,” Andrews said of his opposition.
“Peter Moody’s horse Moment Of Change, there’s a good wrap on it.
“They’re all heading down the same path towards the Randwick Guineas and some of those longer races.
“The opposition is really strong so hopefully we’re competitive and we’ll improve with the run.”
See below for the full 2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes field and form guide to help guide your selections.
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2012 Royal Sovereign Stakes Form Guide
Warwick Farm Race 6 – 4:30pm – 18/02/2012
|1.||MANAWANUI||R T Leemon||Tommy Berry||1||56||3yoG||112||$141,398||9: 6 1 1||66.67%||88.89%||11216x|
|2.||HOT SNITZEL||G A Ryan||Hugh Bowman||11||56||3yoG||112||$47,673||11: 4 2 2||36.36%||72.73%||12x16x|
|3.||KING SAUL||T M Andrews||Brenton Avdulla||5||56||3yoG||77||$76,330||5: 3 0 1||60.00%||80.00%||1×1413|
|4.||DOCTOR DOOM||G H Walter||Rod Quinn||9||56||3yoG||140||$47,470||7: 3 1 1||42.86%||71.43%||18121x|
|5.||DARCI BE GOOD||E B Murray||Peter Robl||10||56||3yoC||140||$43,243||7: 3 2 1||42.86%||85.71%||x1312x|
|6.||ISOPACH||John Thompson||Not Notified||6||56||3yoG||112||$18,418||11: 2 0 1||18.18%||27.27%||07185x|
|7.||SALADE||Ms G Markwell||Not Notified||4||56||3yoC||322||$78,075||2: 1 0 0||50.00%||50.00%||18x|
|8.||FREE WHEELING||Peter Snowden||Not Notified||13||56||3yoC||259||$27,260||5: 1 1 1||20.00%||60.00%||3x21Lx|
|9.||AMBIDEXTER||Peter Snowden||Not Notified||8||56||3yoC||140||$21,475||6: 2 1 1||33.33%||66.67%||81134x|
|10.||HENDRICUS||J A O’shea||Jimmy Cassidy||7||56||3yoC||91||$38,207||7: 3 1 1||42.86%||71.43%||x1851x|
|11.||REKINDLED ALLIANCE||Paul Messara||Corey Brown||12||56||3yoC||140||$19,963||4: 1 2 0||25.00%||75.00%||1226x|
|12.||MOMENT OF CHANGE||P G Moody||Blake Shinn||3||56||3yoG||157||$12,594||2: 2 0 0||100.00%||100.00%||11x|
|13.||TIME TO PLUNDER||A J Cummings||Not Notified||2||56||3yoG||10||$5,833||6: 2 1 1||33.33%||66.67%||x10x12|
*Form Guide Credit – Ladbrokes.com.au