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It is nearing two years since Aeronautical contested a 1400-metre race but trainer Lionel Cohen is optimistic a step up in distance will have results in the Chester Manifold Stakes.

Aeronautical contests Saturday’s Listed race at Flemington having not started beyond 1200m since finishing last on a heavy track in the Doncaster Mile in April 2013.

His most recent attempt in a 1400-metre race was a placing at Rosehill in February 2013 while he has won over the trip in Sydney in 2012.

Aeronautical ventured to Melbourne for the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m), finishing almost six lengths from the winner Decircles and all three placegetters that day will be among his rivals on Saturday.

“I think he will prefer the 1400 metres now,” Cohen said.

“I’ve known for a while I’ve been wanting to run him over 1400 so he will get his chance on Saturday.

“I like his barrier and I expect a nice run for him.”

Aeronatical is a $17 chance with another Sydney visitor Red Excitement the favourite at $4.20.

Cohen says Aeronautical often gives himself too much work to do over short course trips and is hoping that’s not the case over a slightly longer on Saturday.

“I just think the tempo and the extra 200 metres brings him into the race and gives him the opportunity to be more competitive,” he said.

The field also includes last year’s winner Anlon but trainer Darren Weir admits it’s hard to be confident about his chances of going back-to-back after the gelding beat just one runner home in the Christmas Stakes (1200m) at Sandown first-up.

Coupled with that, Anlon, whose last win was in the Chester Manifold last year, will jump from the outside barrier in the field of 13.

“He has drawn tricky and he didn’t run well enough first-up,” Weir said.

“His trackwork has been good, so hopefully he can do something on Saturday.”

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