THE RATING BUREAU
The Manikato Stakes – 1200m G1 WFA $1,000,000
The track is forecast to be a Good 4 early with a possible upgrade so that it will be racing as a Good 3 by race time. The rail is in the True position which tends to result in a very even racing surface, giving those back off the pace every chance.
SPEED & TACTICS
The Buffering camp were very determined in their tactics to lead last start, so I expect a similar plan here from barrier 7. However Noel Callow on Rich Enuff is drawn one inside him in 6 and with the blinkers applied he may also want to lead.
Add to that the prospect of both Tiger Tees (9) and Srikandi (10) pressing forward and this race is set up for at least above average early pace.
Early Pace Rating: Above Average
Late Pace Rating: Below Average
Best Suited: Off pace runners, marginally better suited, but not impossible for on pacers to win.
WFA Performance Ratings that recent Manikato winners have run to:
- 2014 – Lankan Rupee – 105.3
- 2013 – Buffering – 103.5
- 2012 – Sea Siren – 107
- 2011 – Sepoy – 108
- 2010 – Hay List – 108
- 2009 – Danleigh – 106.5
- 2008 – Typhoon Zed – 103
The quality of this race has varied significantly over the years. 2010, 2011, 2012 rated up to G1 WFA standard, while other years have been varying degrees below that. Lankan Rupee has some world class sprint performances on his CV, but his win in this race last year was considerably below that level. The first 8 horses across the line last year had less than a length between them, which is a tell tale sign of a moderate rating race relative to typical standards.
This is potentially another year where a sub Group 1 rating will win the race. Well known Group 1 names such as Chautauqua, Buffering and Terravista are coming into this race off last start wins, but they have returned WFA Performance Ratings comfortably below Group 1 standard.
The winning standard required for this race is therefore difficult to nail down. On recent ratings a 104 to 104.5 rating could land the prize in what would very likely be another bunched finished. It’s very unlikely the race would be won in a lower rating.
However if the likes of Chautauqua or Terravista can go ahead towards their best figures, that will push the winning mark for this race into the 105 to 107 range.
My assessment is then focused on firstly assessing the likelihood of individual runners to run to a 104 level and then their potential to elevate above that level.
RUNNER BY RUNNER
His last 3 Australian runs have rated 103.5 and he does have previous peaks in the 105 to 106 range so you can never discount him reaching that level again. That gives him some claims in this race, however he is an 8YO now and there is unlikely to be any easy time of it in front. For that reason it’s hard to forecast him suddenly bouncing back to that peak, but I expect him to run well again… in that 103.5 to 104 range. The others will need to be right on their game to get past him.
He’s returned well this preparation with two straight wins, overcoming trouble last start. However it’s hard to know just how well he’s going because he hasn’t produced anything special on the clock. First up at MV he was ideally suited by a fast pace which allowed him to establish and maintain momentum, proving far too strong late (104.5 rating). Given the fast pace he was entitled to run better overall time, but on the other hand 1000m is too short and he did what was necessary to win.
Last start at Flemington he was held up for so long he didn’t have the opportunity to display his full talent but again was still good enough to win (103 rating). Both of those ratings are well below his best of 111, 109.5 (both up the Flem straight) and 107 (Randwick 1200m)
The suitability of Moonee Valley with the rail true and genuine pace up front really suits his style here, so it’s more than reasonable to forecast him going ahead in his ratings to a new peak this preparation of at least a 105.5 rating and more likely 106 to 107 figure.
That makes him clearly the horse to beat, but an awkward inside draw means he’s more subject to bad luck in running than some of the others, so he’s certainly no good thing.
I don’t want to lose on the race if he wins, but at the same time there’s no compelling reason at the current market price to want to be strongly invested in him.
Presents here as the key threat to Chautauqua. First up at Randwick he was bumped shortly after the jump and ended up much further back than ideal, in a moderately run race. They key for me was the quality of his speed between the 400m and 100m mark in the race. After making a little ground in fast race sections from the 800 to 400m, he was then asked for his best and went to a new level, showing a terrific turn of foot to burst through and put the race beyond doubt with 100m to go. At that point his condition really gave out and others came back to make late ground.
He won with a 102.5 rating, but had he not been bumped early, he would have settled closer, not used the same amount of energy from the 800m mark to make ground and would have sustained that sharp turn of foot for further, winning the race by a much bigger space and rating higher.
He will be much fitter for this and the quality of that last start sectional speed shows me that he’s come back very well this preparation. There’s strong evidence to forecast him towards a clearly betting rating figure 2nd up here, to around 105 or 106 presenting a real challenge to Chautauqua.
Barrier 1 will be a task, but James McDonald is a top class rider and will no doubt be mindful of the need to find a path clear at the first available opportunity.
Terravista looks well over the odds in this race and a great betting prospect.
Rated 102.5 first up when winning at Randwick and then 101.8 last start when 2nd to Terravista, making late ground as the winner’s fitness gave out. He’s had every possible chance in both of those runs, so there doesn’t appear a strong case to forecast him any higher than 102.5.
Taking an optimistic view though, he did run to 104.3 when unlucky in this race last year so there’s perhaps a small amount of upside. You can’t totally rule him out, but his likely peak here is probably competitive but short of the winning mark.
Couldn’t entertain him on his last start 98.5 rating behind Terravista. Had every possible chance to do better and the leap in performance needed to win this is far too great.
He was very impressive winning over 1200m at Caulfield last start, with an equal career peak rating of 101.5. The set up of this race could see him reach a new career peak in, but it’s unlikely to be good enough to challenge the winners. He’s a classic case of a horse better suited to handicap racing at the top level where he would get significant weight off the better horses.
He ran to 104.3 and 105.9 as a 3YO this time last year, so you could never say he doesn’t have the talent to be competitive… but his peak this preparation of 97.8 when 2nd up shows he’s just not the same horse now. The blinkers go on which could see him improve, but it would be a big surprise if they produced the degree of improvement he needs.
She’s the one in the market I have to oppose here. She rated 101.5 winning first up in QLD during the Winter, then had a couple of failures before rebounding to rate 103.5 winning the Stradbroke Hcp. She went ahead again to rate 104.5 when winning the F&M Tatt’s Tiara at the Gold Coast, but she controlled that at a slow speed and sprinted away from them on a track suiting handy runners… so a more reliable peak at this stage seems to be that 103.5 rating, especially with a view to this race.
As mentioned earlier, a 104 rating looks the minimum standard just to get in the mix here, with the mark need to win likely to be 105 to 107.
Srikandi is yet to rate near that level, even when conditions are ideal, so it’s very hard to forecast her at a winning mark for this race over a distance perhaps a little short of her best and drawn awkwardly.
I have no doubt that she’ll be set to run well in this race first up, but the quality in ratings are not yet there to match the top chances at WFA. It will be a mighty training performance if she can be produced first up here to beat Chautauqua, Terravista and Buffering at WFA. The market price is far too short to take that gamble.
She’s flying this preparation and produced some big closing figures when 1.4L 5th to Buffering last start. However her best career performance so far is a 101.5 rating, making her better suited to handicap racing, not G1 WFA contests.
There was plenty of attention around her first up win at Caulfield because she defeated Lankan Rupee, but he was a major flop on that day. If you accept that his reputation ended up no factor as far as the quality of that race is concerned, then Alpha Miss beat the 100/1 shot Cashed who is a BM82 horse from Adelaide and 1.7L behind her was The Monstar who is an Open Handicapper.
While the class label of that race says G2 WFA, the reality was that the failure of Lankan Ruppe made the race more like an Open class race, Listed at best. Alpha Miss only ran to a 98.5 rating and the measures on the clock don’t provide any compelling evidence to say it should be stronger.
That’s a long way short of the standard needed to be competitive in this. I have plenty of respect for the stable and she’s likely to run to a new career peak here, but it’s very hard to imagine the massive improvement needed to win this.