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Clinton McDonald is hoping to be rewarded for targeting summer racing with Never Again who will contest the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington.

McDonald believes the last start Benchmark 78 winner at Caulfield over 1400 metres is in with a great chance despite rising to stakes grade.

The Caulfield trainer isn’t overly concerned about Never Again jumping in class and pointed out that he has a significant weight drop from his last start win when he contests Saturday’s 1400 metres race.

“You wouldn’t call this a vintage Chester Manifold Stakes. The highest rater is 99 and then there’s a handful around 95,” McDonald said.

“I think the big thing for Never Again is that he drops from 58.5 kg to 54 kg on the minimum weight. That will really suit him.”

McDonald was pleased with the style of Never Again’s last start win at Caulfield over 1400 metres when he rocketed home to get up in the last few strides.

“I couldn’t understand why he didn’t race well at Caulfield but I had a look at it and it was down to wet tracks and luck,” he said.

McDonald said Never Again was better suited at Flemington as he enjoyed the long run in.

Never Again has had three starts over 1400 metres at Flemington for a second, third and a fourth.

“I think this race will set up really well for him. He likes the pace on and there’s four or five who go forward and Michael Walker can take up a stalking role, something he excels at, in about sixth or seventh position, which will really suit him,” McDonald said.

McDonald said Walker rode Never Again in track-work at the start of the week to re-acquaint himself with the galloper who he has ridden twice.

McDonald said Never Again as a six-year-old gelding was now fully matured.

“He’s going great. He’s been a bit weak mentally but he’s really solid now. I’m really happy with him,” he said.

Never Again is a $10 chance with TAB fixed odds and the trainer said he was a great each-way chance.

McDonald’s stable star, the five-year-old mare, Diamond Effort will be aimed at the Adelaide May carnival and will be set for the Robert Sangster Stakes and the Goodwood Stakes.

 
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