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Amarela Amarela has been knocking on the door of an overdue win

Trainer Nigel Blackiston believes Amarela has been knocking on the door of an overdue win and hopes the mare can achieve it at Flemington.

Amarela is chasing her first win since May last year in Saturday’s Ken Cox Handicap (1800m) which is over the same course and distance as her most recent victory.

The five-year-old has raced over 1600m at Flemington in her past three starts, finishing second on April 25 before an unlucky third to Stormsabrewing in benchmark-78 grade.

Amarela goes into Saturday’s benchmark-90 after a last-start sixth to Zourkhan who will again be among her rivals and is the $3.70 favourite, with Amarela at $7.50.

Blackiston believes 1800m suits and is hoping the mare gets luck and clear galloping room in the straight to make her presence felt.

“She’s thereabouts and is trying hard,” Blackiston said.

“She likes Flemington. Over 1800 metres, down in the weights, hopefully we can get the job done.”

Blackiston has stayer Manapine scheduled to resume in Saturday’s Comic Court Handicap (1400m).

Manapine won the Listed Galilee Series Final in April 2015 and was fifth in the South Australian Derby but has only raced four times since.

After one 2015 spring start, Manapine spent 13 months off the scene recovering from a tendon injury.

He returned last summer, finishing a closing fourth and second in benchmark races at Sandown.

Blackiston then sent him for a break after his fifth in an 1800m event at Flemington to avoid the firmer summer tracks.

“His first two runs back were excellent and then he just possibly felt the ground,” Blackiston said.

“Dwayne Dunn said he was feeling his knees a fraction, possibly jarring through the ground.

“We decided to tip him out, give him a month off and start again and come back when the ground is a bit softer.

“He’s had two very nice jump-outs at Flemington. Obviously 800 metre (jump-outs) are far too short for him but he’s in good order.”

Blackiston said he would be looking for Manapine to be finishing strongly over 1400m.

“He’s always shown lovely promise as a stayer. Hopefully we can keep him sound and he can progress from there,” he said.

 
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