Friday night's Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley will go a long way to answering just who is Australia's best sprinter.
Since Black caviar was retired after putting together a staggering quarter century of consecutive wins the sprinting ranks have been strong without a standout superstar.
For about 6 months we thought Lankan Rupee would wear the crown of premier speedster but two recent costly defeats this preparation have had race goers questioning whether he is quite the invincible we first thought. Both of those recent defeats have also come at Moonee Valley. But surely he is better than that.
The Manikato Stakes is set to jump at 9:45pm (AEDT). Tune in to Sky Racing for all the action!
Lankan Rupee was brilliant in the Autumn winning the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket handicap and T.J.Smith Stakes and although his recent minor placings have been costly for punters he could easily bounce back to his best form on Friday Night. His best form would certainly see him win the Manikato. Lankan Rupee was posted at $3.50 favourite with TAB.com.au on Wednesday afternoon.
Lightly raced Sydney galloper Terravista ($3.80) looks a Group 1 winner in the making. The Manikato is a huge leap in class and will test Terravista every step of the way but his Spring form in New South Wales has been faultless. His wins in the Show County and The Shorts have both looked impressive and he couldn’t be in better hands than with Joe Pride. Off a one month freshen up Terravista will be in perfect order for his biggest challenge so far.
Check the full Tab.com.au market for the Group 1 Manikato Stakes here.
Smart New Zealand mare Bounding ($26) is coming off a terrific last start second at Flemington in the Gilgai Stakes. The winner of that race Chautauqua was a possibility to line up in the Manikato on Friday but John Hawkes and sons have decided to wait for another straight race at Flemington. This would no doubt please connections of Bounding! The Lohnro mare has a strong record at 1200 metres at home with her wins including the Group 1 Railway stakes at Ellerslie in January. If Bounding can get across from the wide gate and get into a good position she is a definite place chance in the Manikato.
Another widely drawn mare is Darren Weir’s mare Platelet ($17). No stranger to winning at top level Platelet will be contesting this week’s race at her 2nd run into her Spring Campaign. Her first up run was full of merit resulting in a second to the highly promising Rubick in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield. Platelet should be fitter for the Manikato and has already proved in previous preparations that she is highly competitive second up. Strong runs in this year’s The Goodwood and Sangster Stakes highlight the fact that Platelet is one of the best mares around and will not be out of place in the Manikato on Friday night.
It’s a great race on Friday night to lead us into Saturday’s Cox Plate championship at Moonee Valley.
For mine, I’m tipping Lankan Rupee on top, though I expect Terravista, Bounding and Platelet to be in the finish.
Enjoy the weekend’s racing and don’t forget we’ll have a full review of Friday night and Saturday afternoon’s great racing on Racing Retro Sunday morning at 9am (AEST). I hope you can tune in!