Their grand final goal this spring may be the Cox Plate 2012, but premier Victorian trainer Peter Moody hasn’t completely ruled out the Caulfield Cup 2012 one week earlier for his triple Group 1 winning import Manighar.
The seven-year-old Linamix grey resumes racing after a four month break in this Saturday’s $300,000 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), for which they are the narrow $3.30 favourite over reigning Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed ($3.40) at bookmaker.com.au.
It will be the $3.5 million earner’s first run since finishing third to Mawingo, a $5 chance for the Makybe, in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane on May 19.
Prior to that run Manighar enjoyed a stellar autumn campaign, their first for Moody having previously been prepared by Luca Cumani in the UK, with their season including the rare Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes, The BMW winning triple.
“I suppose a different routine, different regime, different training methods have obviously revitalised him a fair bit,” Moody said of Manighar’s surprisingly impressive autumn season.
Moody hopes to add more Group 1 glory to the stayer’s glowing record this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, but exactly which races they will contest is still to be decided.
“I would like to think we’re more familiar with one another this campaign,” Moody said.
“I’m very pleased with the way he’s come up. He’s wintered in Queensland and he’s a good deal heavier than he was last time he came in to the stable.
“Whether that’s good or bad only time will tell but I feel I’ve got more horse to work with this preparation.”
At this stage the most likely ‘Big 3’ for Manighar will be the $400,000 Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 13 followed by the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley two weeks later and then a possible shot at the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“I’ve keyed in those races to be this time around, the Caulfield Stakes, Cox Plate and then leave the door ajar for the Melbourne Cup,” Moody said.
Manighar, under Cumani, has contested the past two editions of the world’s richest handicap running fifth to Duanden last year on the back of a Caulfield Cup fourth, and seventh to Americain back in 2010 after a fifth in that year’s Caulfield Cup.
While originally looking to bypass the $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) this year with Manighar, Moody has been forced to reconsider in the October 20 classic after the horse received a reasonable 57kg in the Caulfield Cup weights this week.
“Just on a quick study of the Caulfield Cup weights, we thought he was quite attractively weighted there, so maybe that’s not totally off the table the way it looks,” Moody said this week.
As for their first-up run this weekend Moody is keeping his confidence in check.
The bookies and punters are flocking to Manighar in the markets as they won first-up at Caulfield over the mile during the autumn, but Moody doesn’t know if they will be able to repeat the feat this time round.
“He probably hasn’t got the residual fitness that he had in the autumn when he came off a Melbourne Cup and Sandown Classic campaign, but I’m hopeful that he’ll certainly be very competitive,” Moody said.
Manighar pays $26 in the current Caulfield Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au which are led by the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon, is the $11 third favourite behind the Gai Waterhouse-trained duo of Pierro ($5) and More Joyous ($5) to win the Cox Plate, and is at a juicy quote of $34 in the futures Melbourne Cup odds.
Check out the full markets for the Flemington races on Saturday and the upcoming Group 1 majors of the spring online now at bookmaker.com.au.
Don’t have a bookmaker.com.au account? Sign-up with the country’s premier online betting agency today and be instantly rewarded with a $400 bonus welcome bet you can split four ways to place four $100 bets on the big spring features this carnival!