Manawanui recorded his first race win since 2011 with an outstanding performance in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Manawanui won the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) and Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase (1600m) during the 2011 Spring Racing Carnival, but he has been plagued by a wide range of injury problems and has been unable to recapture that form as an older horse – until this afternoon.
The Oratorio gelding had not been seen at the races since he finished eighth in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last weekend, but he performed well in a barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens on September 16 and showed an impressive turn-of-foot to win the Bill Ritchie Handicap from Rock Sturdy and Tougher Than Ever.
Trainer Ron Leemon has put plenty of work into nursing Manawanui back to full fitness and the emotional Warwick Farm-based trainer was delighted to see his star galloper return to winning form in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap.
“It is amazing, it was a lot of hard work and I am a bit emotional,” Leemon said.
“I never lost faith, the owners stuck by me and I really appreciate that.
“He had a nice soft run, which I thought if he got he would be right in it and it was a great ride from Tye.
“I was always hoping that everything would go right for me, we put a lot of hard work into it, this plan has been for 12 months and it is amazing.
“There are no plans, we got through today and we will worry about that next week.”
Jockey Tye Angland was having his first race start on Manawanui, after partnering him in his three barrier trial starts this preparation, and the rising hoop was quick to pay credit to the training performance of Leemon.
“It is an absolutely gun training performance,” Angland said.
“First-up 1400 is not easy, especially for a horse that is coming off injuries, and full credit to the team.
“It got little bit tight up the straight for me, but he is a gun horse and I had a lapful of horse to get through.
“He really let down once I got the right run.”
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|1||2||MANAWANUI||Ron Leemon||Tye Angland||–||2||58kg||$18|
|2||5||ROCK STURDY||Joseph Pride||Corey Brown||0.2L||7||54kg||$2.60F|
|3||4||TOUGHER THAN EVER (NZ)||Chris Waller||Tim Clark||3.2L||6||54kg||$7|
|4||7||PHEIDON||Gai Waterhouse||James McDonald||3.6L||1||54kg||$5|
|5||1||MONTON||Ron Quinton||Sam Clipperton||4.5L||3||59kg||$6.50|
|6||3||RIVA DE LAGO||Chris Waller||Jim Cassidy||5.1L||5||57kg||$8|
|7||6||AUSSIES LOVE SPORT||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||5.8L||4||54kg||$10|