The challenge to become the first three-year-old since Redoute’s Choice to win the Manikato Stakes is one trainer Peter Snowden says is well within Sepoy’s grasp.
The winner of seven of his eight starts including the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Golden Slipper, the star colt takes on older horses for the first time in Friday night’s Group One sprint and is also a debutant at Moonee Valley.
Among his opposition will be the Gai Waterhouse-trained five-time Group One winner More Joyous.
“No doubt. He’s meeting really good seasoned sprinters here on Friday night it looks like one of the best Manikatos we’ve had for a while and the horses are right at the top of their game,” Snowden said.
“So we’ll need to be better than we have been before and I feel he is but he’ll need to be.”
Redoute’s Choice won in 1999 and went on to become a champion stallion, something that is uppermost in Snowden’s mind.
“We’re taking a gamble. He’s a three-year-old colt with an enormous stud value on him so we’re throwing him into the deep end here,” Snowden said.
“But you don’t do what he’s done and not be confident he’ll run competitively against older horses.
“He’s won a Blue Diamond and a Golden Slipper which tells you the ability that he has.
“I’m not frightened. I think he’s right up to these horse. He’s well above average.”
Snowden has obvious respect for More Joyous, a winner at 14 of her 19 starts.
“She’s a seasoned campaigner and she’s had a lot of work. I’ve watched her in her work and she’s ticking along really well,” he said.
“Gai’s got her pretty primed up for a first-up assault.”
Snowden took Sepoy for a second familiarisation track gallop at Moonee Valley on Monday morning.
“He didn’t have a gut-buster, but good enough to keep him up to the mark,” Snowden said.
Ridden by race jockey Kerrin McEvoy, Sepoy had no trouble handling the turns galloping outside of his work partner and stablemate Bullbars.
“He’s a brilliant track worker. His trial last week was enough for me but he did enough this morning, well within himself, but still ran time,” Snowden said.
Sepoy had a 2-1/2 length barrier trial win over Jeteven, running a sizzling 44.9 seconds for 800m at Cranbourne last Monday.
There were 12 nominations for the Manikato including McEwen Stakes winner Buffering and How Now Stakes winner Sister Madly who both also galloped at the Valley on Monday.
Craig Williams, who rode Sister Madly on Monday morning, rides the mare in the Manikato while Damien Oliver stays with Atomic Force.