Tony Noonan’s Kiwi expat Manolo Blahniq debuts down under in the 2016 San Domenico Stakes on Saturday in Sydney with his performance in the Group 3 to determine where to next for the son of Jimmy Choux.
New Zealand-trained champion Jimmy Choux enjoyed plenty of success in Australia as a three-year-old winning the 2011 Rosehill Guineas and also returned that spring for a second to Pinker Pinker in the Cox Plate.
Mornington horseman Noonan is hoping to also achieve Group 1 glory this season with a son of the former John Bary-trained Jimmy Choux, with a spring path to be plotted for Manolo Blahniq after his first-up run on the weekend.
The youngster has his first start as a three-year-old in a small field of just six at Rosehill Gardens in the $150,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) that also features the return of the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist.
Winner of the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) last time out in March, Capitalist is the obvious odds-on favourite in San Domenico Stakes betting through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Capitalist’s two lead-up trials have been impressive and Noonan knows the son of Written Tycoon is the one to beat after his returning run was put back a week due to his Missile Stakes scratching on a wet Randwick card last Saturday.
“There’s a Golden Slipper winner in the race and if he comes back in that sort of form he should win,” Noonan told Racing Victoria speaking of Capitalist.
“Our horse hasn’t had a run for six months and this is not his Grand Final.”
Manolo Blahniq is drawn in barrier two with Christian Reith to ride and is a $16 outsider in the San Domenico Stakes odds.
A Group 3 winner back on New Year’s Day in New Zealand, the up-and-comer was last seen crossing a disappointing 10th as the beaten odds-on favourite on January 24 in the Listed Karaka Million (1200m) at Ellerslie.
He has trialled twice since in Sydney, most recently finishing a mid-field sixth behind Ramornie Handicap winner Smart Volatility over 850m at Randwick on July 29.
Noonan isn’t expecting Manolo Blahniq to win first-up on Saturday, but hopes to see a positive showing as he tracks towards a tougher spring run.
“He’s pretty keen-going, so I just want him to relax and get a guide on him,” he said.
On the cards is a second possible clash with Capitalist back at Rosehill on September 10 in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) after a second-up run in the $175,000 Group 2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) on August 27.
Capitalist is early $4.40 favourite in futures Golden Rose odds as well, while Manolo Blahniq is a $61 roughie in the same all-in markets.
If he shows signs of stretching out to a mile, Noonan could be tempted to head south for the $175,000 Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on September 24 and then the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8 in Melbourne.
“I’m not sure whether he’s a sprinter or a 1400, mile horse, so our first couple of runs will help us work that out,” Noonan explained.
“He’ll go to the Run To The Rose after Saturday then we’ll make a decision on whether we go to the Golden Rose or the Danehill Stakes or head to the Guineas Prelude and the Guineas.”
Noonan also a runner on the P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day card at Caulfield Racecourse this weekend with She’s Positive racing in the $150,000 Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m).
The consistent Sepoy filly is first-up following her win in Adelaide’s Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) back in mid-March and is tracking towards a $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) assignment.
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