Peter Moody-trained gelding Royal Haunt kept his unbeaten record alive and announced himself as a 2013 Australian Guineas (1600m) contender when winning the Listed 2013 Manfred Stakes (1200m) in convincing fashion on Saturday.
In a small seven-horse-field, the three-year-old jumped well from the outside barrier and went to the lead with Luke Nolen calling the shots in the saddle.
With the rest of the field failing to put pressure on the son of Hard Spun, he had an easy time in front before lifting a gear at the top of the straight to gallop well clear of his rivals and eventually win by 4 1/2 lengths from Force Command and Hosting.
It was the third victory from three starts for Royal Haunt who made his debut on December 31 at Echuca.
It has been a quick rise through the grades with his second win at Sale coming on January 17.
Moody has not yet committed to an Australian Guineas berth but is confident the now $10 shot is likely to handle a rise in distance.
“He was very strong on the line there. You would think he is going to run a solid seven, even a mile,” Moody said.
“He continues to surprise me…he came to us with a bit of a boom unraced.”
Jockey Luke Nolen admitted surprise at just how comfortable the victory was.
“I thought he quickened nicely and I’d be something to catch but when I turned around on the post he’d set up a fair margin,” Nolen said.
Golden Rose runner-up Albrecht was a short-priced favourite but struggled in his first race in the Melbourne direction to finish sixth.
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Manfred Stakes 2013 – Results
|1||4||ROYAL HAUNT||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||–||7||56kg||$3.90|
|2||7||FORCE COMMAND||Greg Eurell||Dwayne Dunn||4.25L||3||56kg||$31|
|3||6||HOSTING||Greg Eurell||Craig Williams||4.75L||6||56kg||$3.60|
|4||5||SHEER TALENT||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||5.75L||1||56kg||$12|
|5||2||SHOREHAM||Saab Hasan||Brad Rawiller||5.85L||2||57kg||$26|
|6||1||ALBRECHT||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||6.15L||4||58.5kg||$2.40F|
|7||8||CALIBRATE||Tony Noonan||Jake Noonan (a)||10.4L||5||56kg||$71|