Preview, Trends & Analysis
The Manikato Stakes is the feature Moonee Valley sprint event of the racing calendar held on a Friday night under the lights.
The race is part of the two-day Cox Plate carnival and represents the beginning of massive back-to-back cards at the Valley.
Originally run in 1968 and won by Winfreux, the Manikato Stakes has attracted some of the best ever sprinters we have seen on Australian turf.
Run at Group 1 Weight-for-Age with a prize money purse worth $1,000,000, it is reserved for those sprinters who dare try to conquer the quirky Moonee Valley which has brought many a horse undone.
The race is named after that the legend racehorse that was Manikato.
The Bob Hoysted-trained galloper won the race twice in his famous career and had the race named in honour in 1984.
From 1968-78 the Manikato Stakes was categorised as a Principal Race before gaining Group 2 status from 1979-1988 and then, ultimately, Group 1 status from 1989 onwards.
The Famous Winners and Record Results
Let us start with the namesake of the race.
A versatile horse who took his talents from the sprint course to the mile course.
He won the Manikato Stakes, or as it was known from 1968-83, the Freeway Stakes in the years 1979 and 1982.
Redoute’s Choice (1999) brought home the bacon with victory in the Manikato Stakes as we headed into the turn of the century.
The mighty mare that was Sunline, much like Manikato, also highlighted her versatility with a Manikato Stakes victory in 2000 as she sailed towards a Cox Plate triumph.
She is only one of four horses to have won also won the Cox Plate; Strawberry Road (1983), Rubiton (1987), Dane Ripper (1997).
Hey Doc (2017, 2020) joined four other horses, including Manikato himself, to have won the race twice.
The Tony McEvoy-trained runner also holds the record time run in the race with 2020 success set in 1:08:76.
Chautauqua, known as ‘The Grey Flash’ pounced on his rivals and dashed away with the 2015 edition under the guidance of his regular jockey Tommy Berry.
It seems as though middle to wide barriers look the ideal place to draw for the Manikato Stakes.
Barriers nine, 10 and 11 have provided 15 wins since 1983 split at five wins each.
Barriers four and six have also provided punters with six wins each in that time frame.
Barrier two and barrier have been the barest of the inside barriers providing only one winner each in the last 37 runnings of the event.
The race had been a bit of a nightmare for favourite punters before Jonker in 2021 with the last five before him going under.
The shortest price of those was Bivouac when the Godolphin owned James Cummings-trained sprinter started a $1.70 elect and could only manage finishing sixth.
Chautauqua (2015) was the most recent favourite to conquer the Manikato Stakes when he sprinted away to win as a $2.5 favourite.
The girls have a pretty solid record in the Manikato Stakes with nine victories by a filly or mare since 1994.
Redoute’s Choice (1999), Sepoy (2011) and Loving Gaby (2019) all saulted in the Manikato Stakes as three-year-old fillies.
Of interest to punters should be how many runs deep into the preparation horses are when they contest the Manikato Stakes.
Racing either third-up into the campaign or beyond has proven a fruitful venture in recent years.
Lankan Rupee (2014) and Chautauqua (2015), Rebel Dane (2016), Hey Doc (2017 and 2020), Brave Smash (2018), Loving Gaby (2019) and Jonker (2021) have all fit the mould of being third-up or deeper into their spring campaigns when winning the Manikato Stakes.
There are a plethora of lead-up races trainers use to have their horses peaking for the Manikato Stakes.
The A J Moir Stakes (1000m) is one of the traditional lead-up events of the race as is the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
More recently, some gallopers who have run in The Everest have trekked down from Sydney to participate, but that race is yet to produce a winner in the Manikato Stakes.
Jonker (2021) used the Premiere Stakes at Randwick as his lead-up to victory.
The Recent Winners
Ton & Calvin McEvoy
Ciaron Maher & Dave Eustace
Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes
The Manikato Stakes will be run and won on the 22nd of October at Moonee Valley the day before Cox Plate day.
- The VOBIS Gold Star (1500m), Sprinters Country Cup Final (1200m) and the 55-second Challenge (975m) are some of the supporting races on the Manikato Stakes race card.
- Punch in betdeluxe.com.au to your browser and find your home for all your different types of ways to bet not only on the Manikato Stakes but every race across Australia.
Most horses who run in the Manikato Stakes will either head towards the Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) up the straight at Flemington or usually head for the spelling paddock.