The 2021 Cox Plate Carnival gets underway with Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Night at The Valley on Friday night and we are set for a fabulous night of racing.
We have analysed every single race on the card and our complete 2021 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Night tips can be found below.
Race 1 - 5:15pm
Chef's Hat Handicap (1000m)
This is a great way to start the meeting and there are a host of winning chances.
The market does look to have this right and Starry Legend, Super Thief and Marine One are the clear standouts.
Starry Legend looks like the one of those three with the most upside and he has now scored three wins from four race starts.
He is three from three at this distance and he does have speed to burn.
Michael Dee can ride him aggressively and he will give his rivals something to catch.
2 Units Starry Legend
Race 2 - 5:45pm
MSC Signs Handicap (2040m)
Thought Of That is deserving of his status as a clear favourite for this contest.
He has always been a talented galloper and it has been good to see him return to his best form this campaign.
The So You Think gelding never gave his rivals a chance when he won at Sale two starts ago and he backed that up with a four and a half lengths romp at Ladbrokes Park Sandown last start.
The Valley is the perfect track for him and Linda Meech will be able to take him straight to the front in the early stages of this contest.
4 Units Thought Of That
Race 3 - 6:15pm
Sweeney Estate Agents Plate (2040m)
This is a huge drop in class for Only Words and she has an excellent chance to return to winning form.
She has been racing well without winning in the Let’s Elope Stakes, Stocks Stakes and Ladies’ Day Vase and on exposed form she has a massive class edge over the rest of this field.
Brett Prebble can settle her just behind the speed in the early stages of this contest and she will have every possible chance in the run.
3 Units Only Words
Race 4 - 6:45pm
VOBIS Gold Star (1500m)
Iconoclasm is chasing an incredible fourth straight win in the VOBIS Gold Star.
He doesn’t look to be going well enough to win again this year, but he does have an excellent record at The Valley and the $13 does appeal.
So Si Bon is the class runner in this field and I am happy to take the price currently available.
He has finished fourth in the Testa Rossa Stakes and the Weekend Hussler Stakes and this contest is a genuine drop in quality.
Luke Nolen won’t have to settle too far back from barrier four and he can finish over the top of his rivals.
I don’t want to lose on the race if Iconoclasm is able to score an historic fourth win!
2 Units So Si Bon
1 Unit Iconoclasm
Race 5 - 7:15pm
Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Heat 3 (955m)
It could be a night for the favourites at The Valley and Yulong Command looks as though he will be extremely tough to beat in the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge.
He was only narrowly denied by Curran last start and there is no horse of that quality in this field.
That was the first time that he was beaten at The Valley and he does produce his best form at this track.
He has the speed to go forward from the wide barrier draw and he will give his rivals something to catch.
3.5 Units Yulong Command
Race 6 - 7:45pm
Seppelt Wines Country Cup Final (1200m)
This is a more open race than the market suggests and Diesel ‘N’ Dust does look well and truly over the odds at his current quote of $18.
1200 metres is his best form and the form around him this campaign has been strong.
There really doesn’t look like there is a huge amount of speed in this race and Damien Oliver should be able to find the lead fairly comfortably.
He will give his rivals something to chase at very juicy odds.
1 Unit Diesel ‘N’ Dust
Race 7 - 8:15pm
Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m)
This is not the strongest edition of the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes that we have ever seen, but it is still a very interesting race from a betting perspective.
I am looking for some value outside the main chances and I think there are a couple of horses that are well and truly over the odds.
Swats That will need luck from the wide barrier draw, but I am confident that she is the class mare in this field.
She wasn’t bad after having no luck in the Moir Stakes and we have seen her run well in races like the Coolmore Stud Stakes and Black Caviar Lightning.
Away Game produced an out of character performance in the Gilgai Stakes, but her form before that had been excellent and she is good enough to win this contest on her best form.
Barrier 13 does give Linda Meech options and Away Game has shown that is capable of toughing it out on a good speed.
I am confident that she will produce a better performance than her current odds suggest.
1/2 Unit Swats That
1/2 Unit Away Game
Race 8 - 8:45pm
Rendr Handicap (1500m)
This is a tricky way to finish the meeting and you can make a case for a number of different runners.
Imperial Lad is the horse to beat.
He has been racing well without winning this campaign and I am looking forward to seeing him back at The Valley.
Linda Meech can take him straight to the front in the early stages of this contest and he will give his rivals something to catch.
Silent Sovereign is the main danger.
She went to another level at the end of her last campaign and she has scored two wins from her three first-up starts.
I don’t want to lose on the race if she is able to make a winning return to the races.
2 Units Imperial Lad
1 Unit Silent Sovereign