Tony McEvoy’s progressive galloper Manhattan Blues is one of a host of three-year-old colts and geldings set to kick off a 2015 Caulfield Guineas bid this weekend at Moonee Valley in the McKenzie Stakes.
This year’s $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes (1200m) has attracted 22 nominations and provides the perfect starting point for youngsters heading towards bigger Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival assignments.
One such target for the McKenzie runners is the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) run at Caulfield Racecourse on October 10, which is the confirmed aim for the McEvoy-trained Manhattan Blues.
The son of Manhattan Rain has had five starts for the one win to date and is best known for his brave fourth behind the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Pride Of Dubai in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in the autumn when beaten under three lengths.
His latest start was in mid-March at Flemington in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), his first look at further than 1200m, where he ran sixth to Jameka.
The Adelaide-based galloper had a trial at home at Morphettville on August 7 over 1000m on a Heavy (8) track running a solid sixth in the unsuitable conditions, and McEvoy is looking forward to his return when running at Moonee Valley for the first time on Saturday.
Originally Angaston trainer McEvoy had a 1200m run at home planned for Manhattan Blues, but a Heavy-rated Morphettville track sees him test the horse in tougher company in Melbourne instead with James Winks booked for the ride.
“His trial was only fair, but I think the horse is well and I’m looking forward to getting him back to the races,” McEvoy told AAP.
“Obviously I wanted to kick him off in that small race in Adelaide but I just didn’t want to run him on a Heavy track first-up.”
In futures Caulfield Guineas betting at Ladbrokes.com.au Gai Waterhouse’s Golden Slipper winner Vancouver is the red hot $3.80 favourite with jockey Tommy Berry tipping the colt to improve on a first-up fourth as the beaten top fancy in the San Domenico when stepped up in distance this prep.
Manhattan Boss meanwhile is a genuine roughie in the all-in Caulfield Guineas odds at a current quote of $101.
Some of the other headline McKenzie Stakes entries for this Saturday’s clash include Peter Moody’s consistent Artie Schiller gelding El Greco, Group 1 placed Odyssey Moon who is also 2015 Caulfield Guineas bound, Vain Stakes third placegetter Star Planet and the John O’Shea-trained Demonstrate who ran fourth in the same Caulfield Group 3 last Saturday.
Get behind your McKenzie Stakes selections at the Valley on the weekend and access the full futures markets for the Caulfield Guineas online through Ladbrokes.com.au where a $50 first deposit will get you $150 in bonus bets when you enter the code BONUS150 for a limited time only!