Ciaron Maher has named the Manikato Stakes 2015 under the lights at Moonee Valley late next month as the likely first-up run for his dual Group 1 winning mare Srikandi this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
With a long-term aim of heading to Hong Kong in December for the famous Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin, Maher’s talented daughter of Dubawi is eyeing a racetrack return on October 23 in the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m).
The last Manikato Stakes winning mare was the John O’Shea-trained Sea Siren (2012), five-year-old Srikandi looking to be the next boasting a solid first-up record to date of two wins and a second from three previous resuming runs.
She was last seen taking out an elite level double in Queensland during the winter firstly taking out the state’s richest race with a one and three quarter length victory over Chris Waller’s subsequent Memsie Stakes winner this season Boban in the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1200m).
A trip to the Gold Coast followed on June 20 where she and jockey Kerrin McEvoy combined again for the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) victory to see out her campaign.
Srikandi geared up for her spring at Cranbourne on Monday running a brave third behind star sprinter Lankan Rupee in the opening heat of the day over 800m.
Five-time Group 1 winning six-year-old Lankan Rupee saluted in 47.59 seconds on the Soft (6) track defeating the Robbie Griffiths-trained mare Angelic Light home by a little of the length re-enacting the winning Manikato Stakes quinella from last October.
“She wasn’t asked to do a lot this morning, it was more about just getting her into the rhythm of things and she just had a nice easy trial and I thought she went well,” Maher told Racing Victoria on Monday.
Later this prep Maher plans to run Srikandi down the famous Flemington straight during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November’s $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m), a feature he is yet to saddle-up a starter in.
“She might just have two runs this preparation, the Manikato and the Darley Sprint as well but at this stage she’s in great order and is hopefully in for a good campaign,” he said.
This year will be the mare’s first spring bid in Melbourne as she failed to come on last year and didn’t take part in the carnival on the back of her 2014 winter season that included three black-type wins and a third in the Stradbroke.
“Last spring she was coming off a long campaign where she was racing here in Melbourne before she went to Queensland and for a three-year-old filly it was quite a long preparation in really good races so it was no surprise that she didn’t come up for the spring,” Maher said.
“This year it was a more targeted campaign around the Stradbroke and she pulled up great after the Tatt’s Tiara and spelled really well so it’s no surprise that she’s in better shape this time around.”
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