The 2017 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes is the first Group 1 event of the Cox Plate Carnival and it has drawn a truly stunning field of sprinters.
Vega Magic was very unlucky in The Everest and he is a clear favourite to atone in a race that is shaping as a rematch of the $10 million event!
Can Vega Magic claim yet another Group 1 victory or will one of other outstanding sprinters in this field win? We have analysed every horse in the 2017 Manikato Stakes field and our complete 2017 Manikato Stakes tips can be found below.
Brenton Avdulla was criticised in some quarters for his ride on Chautauqua in The Everest, but he had no other options and the horse showed a nice turn-of-foot late to finish fourth. Chautauqua remains at a level that is below his best form and he would likely need to be at his peak to loop this field and win the Manikato Stakes like he did in remarkable fashion in 2015. There is no doubt he is a class horse and you can’t rule him out completely, but he has found his right price in Manikato Stakes betting.
Vega Magic was close to a good thing beaten in The Everest and Craig Williams will have the chance to atone in the Manikato Stakes. Vega Magic continues to be nothing short of outstanding since joining the Lindsay Park team and this campaign he has already produced three high-rating performances that would likely be good enough to win the Manikato Stakes. He has never previously raced at The Valley, but he gives the impression that he is a horse that will love the track as he can make his own luck right on the speed and still sprint off a strong tempo. He really does look bombproof in the Manikato Stakes and there is no doubt that he is the horse to beat.
Malaguerra was never really able to get into the race in the Moir Stakes and he will be suited the step-up to 1200 metres. His best form is just below the level that will be required to win the Manikato Stakes and it has now been a while since he performed at that level.
Tony McEvoy has now decided that Hey Doc is a sprinter and he has been freshened up for the Manikato Stakes. His first-up win in the Aurie’s Star Handicap was tough and his run in the Memsie Stakes was full of merit. In saying that, he was still beaten by Vega Magic by almost three lengths and it is tough to see him turning-the-tables over 1200 metres in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes.
Rock Magic was excellent in the Moir Stakes and he wasn’t beaten far in the Schillaci Stakes. The Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes is a much tougher race than either of those races and Rock Magic would need to go to a new personal best to win this contest, which is unlikely at eight years-of-age.
Voodoo Lad is another horse that will be better suited in the Manikato Stakes than he was in the Moir Stakes. He is yet to really prove himself at weight-for-age level and he is another horse that would need to produce a career best performance to have any chance of winning the Manikato Stakes.
It is tough to know what to make of Spieth this preparation. Getting beaten by Redzel in the Concorde Stakes was no disgrace, but he didn’t go a yard in the Gilgai Stakes. It is very tough to back him off that performance and I would be surprised if he is a horse that relishes The Valley.
English got too far back in The Everest and she was able to reel off some nicely closing sectionals to finish in sixth place. She has been racing well this preparation and the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott stable is flying in Melbourne, but she would still need to find some improvement in order to beat the likes of Vega Magic.
In Her Time
In Her Time is the x-factor in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes field and the main danger to Vega Magic. She didn’t run in The Everest, but she was able to win the Sydney Stakes on the same day and she ran serious time in doing so. In Her Time is the horse in this field that still has the upside to improve and Corey Brown has plenty of options. It would not surprise to see her take up the running and give them something to chase.
Viddora was a touch unlucky to finish second behind She Will Reign in the Moir Stakes and she will likely never have a better chance to record a maiden Group 1 victory. All of her best form has been over 1000 metres and she has never won over 1200 metres, so I couldn’t possibly have her in this race.
Super Cash is an underrated mare and she returned to the races with a typically solid win in the Schillaci Stakes. She is a mare that generally produces her best form fresh and is capable of taking a big step backwards second-up.