OTI Racing’s Terry Henderson has confirmed that the 2012 Cox Plate and not this year’s Melbourne Cup will be the main spring aim for their famed stayer Manighar.
Ready to saddle up their most imposing Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival contingent to date with a classy list of both local and international acquisitions set to target the season’s majors, Henderson said that the weight the Peter Moody-trained Manighar would receive in the 2012 Melbourne Cup all but rules them out of contention for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
It will be the first time in three years the now six-year-old Linamix gelding doesn’t contest the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), held at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November.
It will also be their maiden run in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Australasia’s weight-for-age championship to light up Moonee Valley Racecourse on Saturday October 27, 2012.
Formerly prepared in France by Alain de Royer Dupre and then in England by Luca Cumani, Manighar debuted down under when still under his second trainer back in 2010.
That year Manighar ran fifth to Descardo in the Caulfield Cup, seventh to Americain in the Melbourne Cup and third to the great Zipping in the Sandown Classic.
They returned 12 months later for another successful Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival targeting the same three races, and improving on each as well.
After a fourth to Southern Speed in the Caulfield Cup they ran a slashing fifth behind Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup and then finished second to the previous year’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the newly renamed Zipping Classic.
Following the spring Manighar stayed in Australia and their new connections OTI sent them to Moody’s Victorian stables to prepare for the autumn.
It was a brilliant autumn to say the least for Manighar and Moody, and one that proved the trainer was capable of preparing a great stayer.
A first-up win the Group 3 TS Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield was followed by a third to German import Lucas Cranach in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m).
From there Manighar dominated the season’s elite levels taking out the rare Group 1 triple with victories in the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and The BMW.
They went on to finish second to More Joyous in the Queen Elizabeth before their latest effort, a good third to Mawingo in the Doomben Cup up in Brisbane.
Manighar is still in pre-training in Queensland along with OTI’s Queensland Derby winner Brambles and is gearing up for another big spring.
With such a strong Group 1 record behind them now Manighar is sure to be allocated far more than the 54kg they carried in last year’s Melbourne Cup, prompting Henderson and the other connections to name the Cox Plate as their primary aim instead.
“The Cox Plate is the main goal for him this spring in Australia anyway,” Henderson said.
“I would like to be able to convince Pete (Moody) to put the Japan Cup in there somewhere.
“Clearly it’s going to be hard for Manighar in a race like the Melbourne Cup with the amount of weight he’s going to have to carry but he’s at a great spot at the moment and Pete’s done a great job.”
Among OTI’s biggest names heading into the Melbourne Cup this year include the John Gosden-trained Gatewood who has won their last three starts in England, the 100 percent Australian owned Quest For Peace and the fellow Luca Cumani-trained Ibicenco.
Manighar is still featuring in the pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting markets at bookmaker.com.au paying $31, Gatewood OTI’s shortest priced fancy at $21.
In the futures Cox Plate odds Manighar is one of the top seven chances paying $17 in markets led by unbeaten filly Atlantic Jewel ($4).