The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Bella Nipotina was enormous in the rescheduled Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes 2022 breaking her Group 1 maiden status in emphatic fashion with a 4 ¾ length victory in the $2 million sprint to close the bumper 11-race Cox Plate Day card at Moonee Valley.
A terrifying lightning storm at The Valley on Friday night saw the Manikato meeting abandoned and the Group 1, 1200m feature moved to the last on Saturday’s extended race program.
For the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Bella Nipotina, it was fate, the mighty mare powering home after a horror start for a fairy tale finish.
Narrowly denied when second in the Manikato last spring behind Jonker, the now five-year-old daughter of Pride Of Dubai was also runner-up last time out when just beaten by her young stablemate Coolangatta in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m).
For the rails-drawn Coolangatta, the inside alley would have been an advantage last night, but it was not ideal after 10 races on a rain-affected Moonee Valley track on Saturday and the filly was scratched from the event.
Bella Nipotina came into barrier one and jockey Craig Williams had her settled off the pace awaiting his run when he knew the field would come off the rails late.
The Robert Heathcote-trained Rothfire lead the field around with the three-year-old Best Of Bordeaux one off the fence in second throughout.
The James Cummings-trained Paulele was just off the front pack settled fourth the fence.
Tracking up behind the favourite was Williams aboard the eventual winner in a bit of a sticky spot waiting for Paulele’s jockey James McDonald, winner of the Cox Plate earlier in the day aboard Anamoe, to find his path.
Rothfire and Best Of Bordeaux cornered for home together, while Paulele lost ground hitting a flat spot just before the turn.
Once on the short straight, Bella Nipotina drove through and took the lead 150m out, Williams coming up underneath them and the deserving mare kicking clear and racing off in a demolition job.
“When they came off the fence, she got a saloon run,” co-trainer David Eustace told Racing.com after the staggering performance.
“She just so deserves this. She’s so tough. It’s just great to reward the owners.
“To top it off with a Group 1 is just very special.”
Rothfire held for a distant second.
The Roman Consul Stakes winning Snitzel colt from Sydney, Best Of Bordeaux, finished third rounding out the Manikato Stakes trifecta.
Williams was all smiles past the post.
“This mare’s been really good for me,” he said.
“When you went through her form, she’s just such a handy, competitive force.
“She does love this type of track condition.
“Her performance was phenomenal. She did that last time in the Moir, but she was beaten by the barrier and the track then.
“That was great.”
Bella Nipotina went on to run third in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) behind Nature Strip after last year’s Manikato Stakes.
That race, now run as the Champion’s Sprint and offering $3 million, takes place on November 5 and could again be on the cards for the gun mare.
2022 Manikato Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||10||BELLA NIPOTINA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Craig Williams||1||56.5kg||$3.60|
|2||7||ROTHFIRE||Robert Heathcote||Damian Lane||4.75L||2||58.5kg||$6.50|
|3||13||BEST OF BORDEAUX||Kacy Fogden||Tim Clark||5.15L||8||53kg||$8|
|4||9||SEPTEMBER RUN||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||6.65L||7||56.5kg||$11|
|5||2||ELEVEN ELEVEN||Gregory Hickman||Nash Rawiller||7.9L||4||58.5kg||$13|
|6||8||THE ASTROLOGIST||Leon & Troy Corstens||Fred Kersley||8L||5||58.5kg||$26|
|7||1||BEHEMOTH||David Jolly||Ben Melham||8.1L||9||58.5kg||$26|
|8||5||PAULELE||James Cummings||James McDonald||8.5L||3||58.5kg||$3F|
|9||3||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Zac Spain||8.8L||6||58.5kg||$91|
|10||15e||SAVATOXL||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Ms Linda Meech||8.9L||10||58.5kg||$51|
|18e||SWEET RIDE||Annabel Neasham||Chad Schofield||0|
|16e||GENERAL BEAU||Mathew Ellerton||0|
|17e||IN THE BOAT||Lindsey Smith||Blaike McDougall||0|
|14||COOLANGATTA||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ms Jamie Kah||0|
|11||ROCH ’N’ HORSE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Patrick Moloney||0|
|4||THE INFERNO||Cliff Brown||Blake Shinn||0|
|6||SHAQUERO||Chris Waller||Brett Prebble||0|
|12||JAMAEA||Robert & Luke Price||Jye McNeil||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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