2016 Manikato Stakes in Mind for Holler

After a failed Diamond Jubilee bid at Royal Ascot, the Godolphin-raced Holler will bypass a shot at the July Cup and instead return home from England with the Manikato Stakes 2016 in mind.


Holler returns from England for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival bid targeting the 2016 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley. Photo: Steve Hart.

Trainer John O’Shea confirmed the Commands colt would not press on to the Group 1 Darley July Cup (1207m) at Newmarket next month after he only managed to finish seventh behind Twilight Son over the weekend in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m).

Far from being disappointed with the run, O’Shea was looking at the positives and said Holler had come through the run in good order and would benefit greatly from his first experience of straight track racing.

“He’s come out of the race well, but he’ll have a break now, and we will get him ready for the big races in the spring at home,” O’Shea told Racenet.

To date Holler has won four of his 12 career starts, including most notably the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick back in March.

He backed up from that elite level success running a brave second to Flamberge at Moonee Valley in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) in his final start before heading off overseas.

O’Shea plans to head back to Moonee Valley this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with Holler where the young horse has an obvious liking for the tight circuit.

He was defeated just a nose in the William Reid and also boasts wins in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) from January and the Group 3 Red Anchor Stakes (1200m) last Cox Plate Day.

His likely target will be the $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) on Cox Plate Eve under the lights on the evening of Friday October 21.

“The race that springs to mind is the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley. He loves the Valley, and has run some big races there,” O’Shea said.

“But having said that, I believe he has benefited from his race up the straight at Ascot. He will have learned a lot.”

That could open up the sprint features down the famous Flemington straight including the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) on the first Saturday of November.

O’Shea has had just one previous Manikato Stakes runner and was successful with classy mare Sea Siren (2012) when she held off a class field including the beaten favourite Buffering (6th).

Holler will be a four-year-old by the time this season’s Manikato rolls around and Sea Siren was also the last four-year-old to win the weight-for-age feature.

The other most recent four-year-old Manikato Stakes winner was another mare, Gold Edition (2007).

The last male four-year-old to get the job done was Spark Of Life (2004) who backed up and successfully defended his Manikato title as a five-year-old in 2005.

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