Flemington horseman Michael Moroney admitted it would be a disappointment if his Australian Guineas hope Tulsa didn’t show up first-up in Saturday’s Manfred Stakes 2016 at Caulfield Racecourse.
The three-year-old son of Sebring is one of 13 in the mix for the $150,000 Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) on Saturday where he is drawn to get a gun run from barrier five with Ben Melham in the saddle.
The favourites in the Manfred Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are the ultra-consistent Golden Spin ($4.80) shooting for his fifth win from six starts and the Darren Weir-trained Teofilo colt Palentino ($4.80) who is one of the top fancies for next month’s Australian Guineas.
He is shorter for his resuming Manfred run at $10, a good price according to Moroney.
“I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t do something on Saturday,” Moroney told Racing Victoria.
“His best form is at 1400m but he’s sharp enough for the 1200m I would think and he’s finally got a good draw.
“He went last preparation drawing the outside, or one from the outside, in every start he had, so it’s nice to draw a reasonable gate and we won’t see him as far back as what he normally gets.
“There will be plenty of trainers in the same boat with horses that did what they did in the spring.
“It’s really just the one that’s improved the most going into the autumn.”
A winner of just one of his five career starts so far, Tulsa showed good potential during his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign last time in.
He was beaten just over two lengths when sixth to Bon Aurum, a $14 chance in the Manfred Stakes 2016, in a luckless Listed Exford Place (1400m) run at Flemington in September before his narrow second to the same horse in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m).
Tulsa could only manage to cross four lengths away eighth to Press Statement in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in his final spring run, but Moroney is confident an elite level win isn’t outside of his reach this season.
“He’s a stronger version now, we went through the spring and we nearly turned him out after his second run, but he did a good job and raced very well considering,” Moroney said.
“He’s certainly matured a lot, but in saying that, all the three-year-olds do mature between spring and autumn but I think of the ones in our stable, he’s probably the one who has matured the most.”
Also on the 2016 Australian Guineas path for Moroney are the likes of Loyalty Man, Alaskan Rose, War Legend and his other most likely to run in the classic Tivaci.
A $51 outsider in futures Australian Guineas betting currently, the nicely-bred High Chaparral colt was last seen running fifth to Mahuta in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Victoria Derby Day.
“There’s probably not much between him (Tulsa) and Tivaci, we’ll find out about Tivaci, he’s having his first-up run,” he said, the youngster engaged in the last at Racing.com Park on Thursday.
“Tivaci is another one who has really improved.
“It would be nice to think we could get a couple in there.”
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