The rising cost of barrier trials means Manawanui goes to his first-up assignment at Randwick on Saturday without a public outing but trainer Ron Leemon is happy he is fit enough for his return.
Leemon has given the five-year-old a couple of jump-outs at Warwick Farm to ready him for the Group Two Shorts (1100m).
“The cost of trials is exorbitant for owners so I decided not to do that,” Leemon said.
“To trial on your home track is about $350 and to go anywhere else is $500. It’s just too expensive so I jump my horses out instead.
“He’s had a couple of good hit-outs and is down to 514 kilograms which is where he needs to be.”
The winner of the Group One Golden Rose two years ago, Manawanui hasn’t won a race since the Vase at Moonee Valley in October 2011.
In last year’s running of The Shorts, the gelding suffered a bleeding attack resulting in an enforced three-month ban.
He was unplaced in two starts during the autumn and Leemon admits The Shorts will be a defining race.
“It will tell me if I am on the right track with him,” he said.
“We’ll just take things race by race with him.”
Leemon said he expected Nash Rawiller to be able to take up a midifeld position from barrier one and be somewhere near the favourite Sessions and move when he does.
“There’s a lot of speed in the race and I would expect him to drift back,” he said.
“I would like him somewhere near Sessions and running on late.”