An open edition of the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes will take place at Flemington this Saturday with a number of the thirteen competitors entered, heavily involved in the early betting markets. After early support, Sydney visitor Red Excitement is the early favourite ($5 into $4.60) just in advance of last start winner Tried And Tired at $4.80. Favourites have won the past two editions (Anlon and British General) of the Manifold Stakes – and like the early favourites for this year’s editions, won their respective lead-up races in good style.
Godolphin will be hoping to go one better with top-weight Reparations ($7.00) than their galloper Limes did when second in last year’s edition. He has 60kgs to carry but the combination of a good gate, jockey and record at the trip, still see him as a live chance. Lord Of The Sky ($6.50) and Adelaide visitor Boristar ($9.00) are the other runners under double-figure odds.
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1. REPARATIONS – D Dunn (4) 60kgs
Backed up his win in the Listed Mss Security Stakes up the Flemington straight on the last day of the VRC Carnival, with another solid effort in the Standish Handicap on New Year’s Day, finishing third (2.1 lengths) behind Decircles and Lord Of The Sky. Carried 59kgs last start and although he carries slightly higher again here, will be fitter for that outing and his record over 1400m is very good and includes a win in the Listed Thoroughbred Club Cup and a head second to Messene in the Listed National sprint. Drawn to get a gun run.
2. LORD OF THE SKY – P Moloney (6) 59kgs
Beaten as short priced favourite in his first two runs back from a spell, the 4yo stallion was again well in the market (3/1) for the Standish Handicap, his most recent start. He led but found Decircles too strong late and finished second, beaten ¾ of a length. It his third attempt at the six furlongs and he is yet to win one. The extra furlong here – a distance he tackles for the first time, combined with the 59kgs, should see him vulnerable the last 100m.
3. AERONAUTICAL – B Rawiller (5) 58.5kgs
The Lionel Cohen trained galloper has finished sixth in each of his three runs back this campaign, the latest being behind Decircles in the Standish Handicap beaten almost six lengths. Just not hitting the line in the manner we know he can this time and would need to show sharp improvements on current efforts to be winning here.
4. DANY THE FOX – G Boss (2) 58.5kgs
Returns from a spell and put together a very solid campaign last time in, including a third (1.4 lengths) to Reparations in the Listed Thoroughbred Club Cup. Meets Reparations 5kgs better here than in that run can run a good race fresh as his first up record, which includes a third in the Listed Regal Roller, indicates. Drawn well and capable of a bold showing at a big price.
5. RED EXCITEMENT – B Avdulla (12) 58.5kgs
The 5yo returned from a spell exactly from where he left off, winning his fourth consecutive race in a BM 95 (1400m) at Rosehill four weeks back, when leading all the way under the impost of 61kgs. Drawn wide here but last start was the exception to the rule and he’ll be happy to settle back in the run here. The pace of the race and the Flemington straight will suit the Excites 5yo who continues to improve with each run.
6. TIRED AND TRIED – D Oliver (1)
Rewarded for two good runs back from a spell with victory in the Listed Christmas Stakes Boxing Day, defeating Lord Of The Sky by 1.8 lengths. Recorded a 1400m Flemington win over Decircles and Dany The Fox last prep and the Leon and Troy Corstens trained galloper is fit, in form, and drawn perfectly for this course. No reason why we wouldn’t see him in the thick of the action late.
7. DECIRCLES – S Baster (3)
Found his best form after two plain runs back from a spell last start and took out the Standish Handicap, defeating Lord Of The Sky by ¾ of a length. Found a good spot on the pace and proved too strong late. Drawn to get the same kind of run here and Flemington is his favourite track however, might be kept a bit more honest up front here and with only one win from seven attempts at the 1400m, may find the last 100m is major concern.
8. GO THE KNUCKLE – N Hall (7) 57kgs
Although returning to racing from a nine month spell, expected to see a bit more from him than what he produced when last of nine in the Listed Xmas Cup when finishing over six lengths from the winner Danger Close. Showed good improvement though at his next and only start since, closing well from worse than midfield to run third (3.1 lengths) behind Tried And Tired and Lord Of The Sky in the Listed Christmas Stakes on Boxing Day. Both of those horses are in form and the Rob Smerdon trained galloper will only be fitter again and enjoy stepping up to the 1400m. Should be enough pace on up front for him to get his chance late and represents good value for the multiples at double-figure odds.
9. BORISTAR – J Kah (9) 56kgs
Adelaide galloper who went within a whisker of making it three wins in a row when nosed out by Éclair Big Bang on the final day of the VRC Carnival. Had a seven week break since that run and returned with a solid victory in the Listed Xmas Handicap at Morphettville on Boxing Day, drawing away from his rival late to win by 1.8 lengths. The Commands 5yo returned in good order, still improving and his last visit to Flemington stands him in very good stead for this event, despite the slightly awkward draw.
10. ANLON – D Lane (13) 54.5kgs
Returned from a six month spell in the Listed Christmas Stakes but the 6yo from the Darren Weir camp failed to make an impression from the back of the field and finished second to last, just shy of six lengths from the winner Tried And Tired. Won this race last year as the 5/2 favourite but had good immediate form prior to that victory. It’s been a year and five runs though since we’ve seen that kind of form.
11. WHISPER DOWNS – M Walker (8) 54kgs
Resumes from a seven month spell for the training partnership of Hayes and Dabernig with no official trials. Getting close now to two years since the 6yo last won a race and his better effort since that victory have come over more ground than this and deeper into a campaign. Will need this run and further ground.
12. FUTURE SOLUTION – (11) 54kgs
Started a big price (60/1) for his return to racing in the G3 Standish Handicap and ran accordingly, finishing last of eleven and eight lengths from the winner Decircles. Hard to see him making the required improvement to be winning this race off of that effort, especially from a poor draw.
13. MISTER MILTON – C Williams (10) 54kgs
Still only the two wins from thirty-eight starts but he can produce some cheeky efforts under the right conditions, as was the case two starts back when he was a fast-finishing fourth (1 lengths) behind Mighty Like in an Open Handicap over this course. Backed that up with another fourth at his following start, New Year Day’s Standish Handicap, making steady ground from the tail of the field to finish 4.9 lengths from the winner Decircles who, together with second placed Lord Of The Sky, dominated the race from up front. Back to a 1400m, and with some pace on up front, could possible sneak a place in a race such as this.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Decircles, Lord Of The Sky, Boristar and Tried And Tired pushing forward early and with Dany The Fox and Reparations keen to utilise their good gates, pace should be genuine early. Tried And Tired ticks plenty of boxes here and at $4.80, is a good price off the back of last start’s win. Red Excitement will overcome the wide gate be storming home late as will Go The Knuckle who for mine, is the value runner in the race. At $21.00 in an open race, Dany The Fox as form credentials that make that price appear to be over the odds. Tough race with a number of legitimate chances.
1. TRIED AND TIRED
2. RED EXCITEMENT
3. GO THE KNUCKLE