Tony Noonan is hopeful Manolo Blahniq can strike winning form again ahead of a trip north for a Group One assignment in Brisbane.
Noonan struggled to find a suitable 1200m race ahead of the 1400m of the Stradbroke with Manolo Blahniq having not raced since finishing second in the Victoria Handicap at Caulfield on April 20.
A week in the paddock after his last start was followed by a week at the beach before a slow build-up towards Saturday’s race.
With a long preparation, interspersed by a couple of breaks to freshen up, Noonan is happy to be playing at home, although saying his options were restricted.
“He would have had to have run in either the Doomben 10,000 or the Kingsford Smith this weekend, but they weren’t suitable at this stage,” Noonan said.
“He’s had a fairly lengthy campaign, with two little freshen ups in that period, and this was the only suitable 1200-metre race throughout Australia two weeks before the Stradbroke.”
Since winning the Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington in January, Manolo Blahniq has registered three second placings from his subsequent four starts.
While that would be a cause of frustration for some, Noonan isn’t fazed.
“When you’ve trained as long as I have you get immune to frustration a bit,” Noonan said.
“He hasn’t had a lot of luck in some of his race but he’s been a consistent horse so I’m hoping he gets all his luck in his next two starts.”
In-form Michael Dee rides Manolo Blahniq for the first time on Saturday.
“Michael rides light and the thinking there is hopefully he’ll stay on him and follow him to Brisbane,” Noonan said.