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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.”

 
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