Friday night the Group 1 racing action at Moonee Valley will kick off for the coveted two-meeting Cox Plate Carnival, the evening highlighted by the Manikato Stakes 2012 where Queensland sprint star Buffering will seek that elusive elite level title.
The Rob Heathcote-trained Mossman gelding has contested 11 Group 1 races over their 28-start career to date finishing outside of the top four just once.
On Friday the now five-year-old finally looks to be in the right spot to break their Group 1 duck, Buffering having come up trumps with barrier one in the small 10-horse field for the $750,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
Without sprint superstars Hay List, Black Caviar and last year’s Manikato Stakes winner Sepoy, who Buffering finished fourth behind in the race 12 months ago, Heathcote’s stable ace is sure to jump the Manikato Stakes betting favourite.
Undefeated this time in they have won their opening two Group 2 assignments most recently putting one and three quarter lengths on their closest rival Golden Archer in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m).
There are two other last-start winners in the Manikato Stakes 2012 field with the Peter Snowden-trained Mental who drew wide with barrier nine for their resuming run, and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Hallowell Belle due to get a gun run from gate three with Nash Rawiller in the saddle.
Lonhro four-year-old Mental has won six of their 10 starts to date, most recently a stakes race over the mile at Eagle Farm on June 9, and will be first-up on Friday night contesting their first Group 1 event.
Mental is one of the latest group from team Darley to be Godolphin-bound at the end of the spring with Dubai and Europe on the agenda for their future.
“Mental is the sort of horse that could be a Group 1 sprinter over there, and if he comes out and performs well at that level on Friday night, it will be a bonus,” Darley Australia’s Henry Plumptre said.
“He is very well going into the race on Friday, and he will make sure Buffering doesn’t have it all his own way.”
Starcraft mare Hallowell Belle meanwhile resumed on October 6 at Flemington scoring a good win over King’s Rose in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), the former Moody-trained four-year-old racing at the Valley for the first time since her close second in the Listed Crockett Stakes in August last year.
Other horses coming off some nice recent form include Mark Kavanagh’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes runner-up We’re Gonna Rock with barrier 10 to overcome, the Peter Moody-trained Ready To Rip (barrier four) coming off a close second to Buffering in the Group 2 AJ Moir Stakes over this track and distance, and Clarry Conners’ consistent mare Satin Shoes (barrier six) who has run top three in her opening three starts this prep in Sydney.
Also in the Manikato Stakes mix are then Group 1 winners Temple Of Boom who won The Galaxy in Randwick back in April, and John O’Shea’s Doomben 10,000 winning mare Sea Siren who beat Buffering home by a long neck in the 1350m Brisbane feature back in May.
Check out the full 2012 Sportingbet Manikato Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights in the table below.
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2012 Manikato Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Moonee Valley Race 6 – 9:15pm (AEST) – 26/10/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x323122x11||BUFFERING||Robert Heathcote||Hugh Bowman||1||58.5kg||112|
|2||x6081935x5||TEMPLE OF BOOM||Tony Gollan||Corey Brown||7||58.5kg||109|
|3||x8x1162x12||WE’RE GONNA ROCK||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||10||58.5kg||107|
|4||68282×1132||READY TO RIP||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||4||58.5kg||103|
|5||12x1649x15||BEL SPRINTER||Jason Warren||Ben Melham||2||58.5kg||106|
|6||1114x1151x||MENTAL||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||9||58.5kg||98|
|7||31112x119x||SEA SIREN||John O’Shea||Jim Cassidy||5||56.5kg||111|
|8||4x331333x1||HALLOWELL BELLE||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||3||56.5kg||107|
|9||x02200x322||SATIN SHOES||Clarry Conners||James McDonald||6||56.5kg||102|
|10||513x5044x7||LONE ROCK||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||8||56.5kg||108|