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The bookies are having a hard time separating the top two fancies in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes 2018 field with Prezado and Bravo Tango battling for favouritism in the Caulfield clash.
Due to jump as Caulfield Race 8 at 4:45pm (AEDT), this season’s Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes (1200m) has drawn a final field of a dozen three-year-olds.
Early favourite in Manfred Stakes betting at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.60 is Prezado drawn the outside barrier (12) with Chris Symons to ride the Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained gelding.
A son of Denman, Prezado broke his maiden status back on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington last November and resumed racing on January 20 at the same track.
Contesting the $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m) first-up, Prezado ran an eye-catching second behind the highly-spruiked Nature Strip and gets the chance to go one better second-up on Saturday.
Ellerton & Zahra have also accepted for the rails-drawn Crystal Spirit, a perennial runner-up paying $11 to beat his better-fancied stablemate.
The Bel Esprit gelding has won just one of his eight starts to date and comes off a second-up second from January 13 over 1400m at Flemington so drops in distance this weekend with Damian Lane coming aboard.
The major danger to Prezado though according to the Ladbrokes Manfred Staked odds at $4 for the win is the Mitchell Freedman-trained Bravo Tango drawn gate six with Ben Melham in the saddle.
Yet to finish out of the money during his four start career to date, the Ballarat-based Congrats colt comes via the same Inglis Dash race that produces Prezado when third first-up.
A black-type placegetter from the spring, Bravo Tango has winning form up to 1330m and will enjoy getting up to 1200m second-up in the Manfred Stakes.
The genuine Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes market mover backed in early from $9 to $6.50 is the returning I Did It Again for Cranbourne’s Greg Eurell.
To be ridden by star hoop Damien Oliver, the Nicconi gelding races for the first time since his failed ninth of nine runners behind subsequent Coolmore Stud Stakes placed filly Formality in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) back in October.
He won over the 1200m at Caulfield first-up last winter however and is tipped for another good fresh run on Saturday in the Manfred.
Rounding out the single-figure fancies for the set weights plus penalties clash at $9 is the Lindsay Park-trained Muraaqeb in gate three.
Mark Zahra rides the Snitzel colt first-up having been aboard for the Muraaqeb’s Blue Sapphire Stakes fifth last spring.
Muraaqeb’s latest run was at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day in November when a close second behind Kentucky Breeze in a Listed 1400m feature.
Levi Kavanagh’s well-bred Pierro gelding Kentucky Breeze is also engaged in the Manfred Stakes field on the weekend, a $13 chance to retain his undefeated status first-up with a third career success.
Other notable Manfred Stakes hopefuls this autumn include Darren Weir’s one-time VRC Derby favourite Cliff’s Edge ($10) who has form around gun filly Aloisia and the Godolphin-raced Group 1 performed Veranillo ($15).
2018 Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes Field, Barriers & Odds
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