Brilliant three-year-old Manawanui upstaged a number of Cox Plate hopefuls with a sparkling track gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday.
Manawanui is bypassing the Cox Plate to run against his own age in Saturday’s Group Two Vase over the Cox Plate distance of 2040m.
He worked with triple Group One winner Yosei and impressed trackwatchers as he surged to the line in one of the most eye-catching performances of the morning at a star-studded Breakfast with the Best.
Melbourne clocker Warren Huntly timed Manawanui to cover his final 400 metres in 23.46 seconds, the fastest final split of the morning.
Jockey Glyn Schofield, who has formed a great association with the Ron Leemon-trained gelding, was suitably impressed.
“She (Yosei) was always going to go from the 800 (metre mark), I only wanted to go from the 600 and when I let her go I wasn’t intent on reeling her in,” Schofield said.
“But the way he picked her up and ran past her was pretty impressive.”
Manawanui shot himself and Leemon into the spotlight with victory in the $1 million Group One Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill last month.
The gelding was then courageous in defeat in a stirring Caulfield Guineas (1600m) duel when he just failed to run down a gallant Helmet.
Helmet is favourite for Saturday’s Cox Plate while Manawanui is expected to be a short-priced favourite for the Vase on his way to a possible start in Saturday week’s Victoria Derby.
Schofield believes the Melbourne trip has done wonders for the Sydneysider.
“It’s probably been the making of him,” he said.
“Mentally he’s got a lot out of his experiences away from home.”
Schofield has also gone over all the “what ifs” but concedes nothing would have changed the result of the Guineas despite Manawanui’s brave effort.
“Obviously Helmet was just a bit tough for us on the line,” Schofield said.
“It was one of those races where, whenever you get beat you go back over it and think you could have maybe done something different but there’s not one thing that we could have done any different to get any different result.
“But it was just a fantastic race to be a part of.”
Manawanui is one of nine nominations for the Vase and his handicapper rating of 108 is 28 points higher than his nearest rival.