Manolo Blahniq will join the tail end of the Queensland winter carnival after producing a dogged victory at Rosehill.
The Mornington-based gelding justified trainer Tony Noonan’s decision to go north early in this preparation by claiming the Sydney’s West App Handicap (1300m) second-up.
Noonan says the Listed Glasshouse Quality (1400m) on the Sunshine Coast in a fortnight is on the agenda after Manolo Blahniq ($5.50) edged Pianissimo ($12) by a long neck on Saturday.
Mapmaker ($13) was short neck third.
Manolo Blahniq launched this campaign with a third over 1100m at Rosehill on May 19 and then benefited from a freshen-up.
“The plan was to give him a very light preparation. He’ll improve on that again,” Noonan said.
“It was a lovely ride by Blake (Shinn). It’s been a month between runs so he had to nurse him a little bit.”
Noonan said Manolo Blahniq’s confidence and fitness was continuing to build since he transferred from New Zealand in 2016.
“In 12 months time, I’ll be disappointed if he’s not a stakes horse,” he said.
Shinn was pleased with Manolo Blahniq’s performance.
“It’s taken a lot of time but he’s a pleasure to ride now,” he said.
“He wants to work with you instead of against you and he’s got a very nice turn of foot.
“That win will give him confidence and he can only improve fitness-wise.”