Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
There was nothing simple about Friday night’s Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes 2017, a drama filled edition to the Moonee Valley sprint feature ending with a controversial win by the Tony McEvoy-trained Hey Doc.
An original line-up of 11 sprinters for this year’s Group 1 $1 million Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) was reduced to nine on the night.
Earlier in the day Voodoo Lad had been withdrawn from the field, but it was the scratching at the barriers of the Team Hawkes-trained champion sprinter Chautauqua that had the crowd riled up.
Spectators were getting rowdy trackside on Cox Plate Eve as jump time for the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes was delayed.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained mare English, who subsequently ran dead last walking home over 22 lengths off the winner, and the race’s 2015 winner Chautauqua were both removed from the gates to be vetted.
English was allowed to run, Chautauqua was not having suffered a scratched leg despite talks the ‘Grey Flash’ had originally been passed fit.
Team Hawkes declined to comment post-race.
Red hot favourite in Manikato Stakes betting was the Lindsay Park-trained The Everest runner-up Vega Magic ($2).
The tipped front runner in the weight-for-age classic however didn’t get the lead, with jockey Luke Currie playing for keeps taking his mount Hey Doc across to set the pace.
Chasing his first win since a first-up success down the Flemington straight on August 12, four-year-old Duporth gelding Hey Doc was a $21 shot last night after a lead-up 10th to Humidor in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) from mid-September.
Punters should have taken notice of the galloper’s undefeated Moonee Valley track record however, Hey Doc having won back-to-back races at The Valley as a three-year-old last September including the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m).
Hey Doc became a dual Group 1 champion with the upset Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes result adding to his Australian Guineas success over the Flemington mile back in March.
Leading all the way, Hey Doc held a narrow margin over the in-form Benjamin Smith-trained mare In Her Time ($7.50) who was having her first look at The Valley circuit, while the Peter Gelagotis-trained Malaguerra ($21) was just a half-length off the winner for third in the Manikato Stakes trifecta.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Corey Brown, aboard In Her Time, lodged a post-race protest against the winner Hey Doc.
His issue started when Currie crossing on Hey Doc at the 1000m mark, while In Her Time was on the rail and Vega Magic between the two.
Trying to improve position on the favourite, jockey Craig Williams and Vega Magic then made contact with In Her Time, who was forced to hold her spot before suffering the narrow loss along with the mare pulling a plate.
The protest was eventually dismissed and winning trainer McEvoy was thrilled to see Hey Doc back in winning form, fit coming back in distance off the mile run earlier at Flemington.
“He had a great base fitness – I just had to get his mind right, I just had to freshen him, and that base fitness – we needed it tonight – and it was there,” McEvoy told the media post-win.
Currie though didn’t come through the Manikato Stakes win unscathed, the jockey eventually handed a 10-meeting suspension that starts Saturday evening for careless riding.
McEvoy now turns his attention to the Group 1 $3 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) saddling-up three-year-old Royal Symphony who is second elect behind dual defending champion Winx.
See below for the official Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes 2017 results, before heading to Ladbrokes.com.au for all the best Cox Plate odds!
2017 Manikato Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 7 – 27/10/2017
|1||4||HEY DOC||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||–||8||58.5kg||$21|
|2||9||IN HER TIME||Benjamin Smith||Corey Brown||0.2L||1||56.5kg||$7.50|
|3||3||MALAGUERRA||Peter Gelagotis||Damien Oliver||0.5L||10||58.5kg||$21|
|4||10||VIDDORA||Lloyd Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||2L||3||56.5kg||$19|
|5||2||VEGA MAGIC||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Craig Williams||2.75L||2||58.5kg||$2F|
|6||7||SPIETH (NZ)||Bryce Heys||Nash Rawiller||2.85L||4||58.5kg||$21|
|7||5||ROCK MAGIC||Chris Gangemi||Jarrad Noske||3.05L||6||58.5kg||$26|
|8||11||SUPER CASH||Andrew Noblet||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||18.05L||7||56.5kg||$31|
|9||8||ENGLISH||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Mark Zahra||22.05L||5||56.5kg||$13|
|SB||1||CHAUTAUQUA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||–||9||58.5kg||–|
|–||6||VOODOO LAD||Darren Weir||Hugh Bowman||–||0||–||–|
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