2018 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Tips

October 25, 2018

2018 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Tips

Race 1: Lucrf Super Handicap (1000m) – Mig Energy

Very open race between the boys, most of which are lightly raced and unfamiliar with the track. Mig Energy placed fifth last start over 1200, but ran the second fastest final furlong of the race. Has won at The Valley before over the same distance, and barrier two is handy, although you wouldn’t know it at double-digit odds.

Race 2: The Westin Melbourne Handicap (2040m) – Pleasuring

There’s a good mix of Saturday grade horses and young up and comers in this three-year olds and over race, making it hard to look past the favourite. Darren Weir’s four-year old returns to The Valley after running third last start in the Pinker Pinker Plate at Cranbourne (2025m), an unlucky run that saw her held up down the straight. Pleasuring ran from last at the turn to finish third on the outside, a move jockey Damian Lane will hope to replicate from barrier four.

Race 3: Gold Star (1500m) – No Bet

Looks a two-horse race between the two favourites, so I’m happy to stay out of this one. Widgee Turf’s strong first-up form and solid barrier draw makes him tough to beat, while Iconoclasm, fresh from a win a fortnight ago in a listed race at Caulfield, will challenge right alongside. Should be an exciting sprint to the finish between two experienced Melbourne runners.

Race 4: MSC Signs Handicap (2040m) – Odeon (Each Way)

The weight of money is with $2.90 favourite Waging War, but it’s a drastic step up to 2040m after running sixth at Caulfield over 1600m two weeks ago. You could also say the same for Odeon, who has been up for a while, but steps down in trip. The 2400m journey looked a little beyond him in the Herbert Power Stakes last start, so this should be more than suitable even with jockey Damien Thornton carrying 58.5kg.

Race 5: Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Heat 3 (955m) – Written Choice

Barrier 15 makes me a little nervous here, but after winning Heat 2 three weeks ago, you have to like Written Choice at these odds. Logan McGill’s four-year old has fared no worse than fourth in seven career starts, and looks happy sitting up on the speed. He’ll have some work to do out of the gates to make up ground, but if he’s clear in the straight, look out.

Race 6: Sweeney Estate Agents Handicap (1200m) – Captain Punch (Each Way)

Captain Punch backed up a disappointing first-up run to finish second at Cranbourne a fortnight ago behind rival Runson, who enters as one of the favourites for this race. I thought he was a little too keen last start down the straight, but with 10 career wins to his name at a similar distance, you know he has the turn of foot to make up for the wide barrier draw.

Race 7: Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) – Brave Smash

It’ll take a lot to beat Sunlight from gate three, especially with her strong second-up record. I think Brave Smash might be the horse to do it though after showing tremendous speed in the Moir tying for the fastest final furlong alongside race winner Viddora. Darren Weir’s six-year old struggled on the wet surface last start in The Everest, but he’s familiar with The Valley and trip.

Race 8: Michelton Wines Handicap (1500m) – Black Sail

Black Sail returned to the races in tip top condition back in September and looks to make it back-to-back wins following success at Cranbourne (1600m) earlier this month. The 55kg weight with Damian Lane on board should suit Weir’s four-year old, and after winning by only a nose last start, I think the step down in trip should suit.

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