This Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival the 2013 Manikato Stakes will be worth an increased $1 million in total prize money assuring a top class field for the weight-for-age classic.
Announced by the Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) this week, the prize money boost for the important Cox Plate Carnival feature comes on the back of several Group 1 upgrades to Victorian races this coming season.
Set to light up Moonee Valley Racecourse on the evening of Friday October 25, 2013, the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) whets the appetite of racing fans and punters ahead of the spring’s first Melbourne major – the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) the following day.
Named in honour of the great Manikato who won the event twice as well as five straight William Reid Stakes victories at the same track from 1979 – 1983, the Manikato Stakes was previously worth $750,000 in prize money.
The race already has an impressive winners’ list including in recent years Danleigh (2009), Hay List (2010), Sepoy (2011) and Sea Siren (2012), and with the enlarged purse the class is only set to improve with the MVRC hoping to attract greater international interest.
“This year’s prize money increase of the Sportingbet Manikato Stakes emphasises Moonee Valley Racing Club’s desire for the two-day Sportingbet Cox Plate Carnival to become a truly international racing event as we aim to attract the best sprinters and middle distance thoroughbreds throughout the world,” MVRC chairman Bob Scarborough said.
“This significant prize money increase also further complements Moonee Valley’s commitment to night racing following the Asian Pattern Committee’s recent elevation of the weight-for-age AJ Moir Stakes to Group I status.”
The Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m), now worth $450,000 after a $150,000 increase, runs on September 27 and many horses will be aimed at it along with the Manikato as a lucrative Moonee Valley elite level spring double.
Already the positive effects of the decision are being felt with overseas interest in the Cox Plate Carnival trickling in including from the connections of Hong Kong’s Lucky Nine.
The change of date 12 months ago and today’s prizemoney boost mean the Manikato Stakes has now become a legitimate target for the world’s best sprinters with Hong Kong star Lucky Nine amongst those targeting this year’s race,” Racing Victoria executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter said.
Dubawi six-year-old Lucky Nine was last seen winning the Group 1 Krisflyer International Sprint (1200m) at Singapore’s Kranji Racecourse three lengths ahead of Australian-trained Bel Sprinter on May 19 with former Aussie hoop Brett Prebble in the saddle.
“One of our objectives is to expand international participation across a number of feature races during the Spring Racing Carnival and the fact we now have the Manikato Stakes and the $1 million Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington 15 days later means we have an attractive offering for international sprinters,” Carpenter added.
“Today’s announcement now brings to three the number of $1 million open age sprints in Victoria, autumn’s Newmarket Handicap is the other, and follows the upgrades of three other spring features, the Moir Stakes (Moonee Valley), Memsie Stakes (Caulfield) and Makybe Diva Stakes (Flemington), to Group 1 status this year.”
For all the latest on the Manikato Stakes 2013 and other Cox Plate Carnival features stay tuned to Races.com.au.
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