The finish of the 2014 Manikato Stakes will long be remembered for the amazing finish it produced. A wall of seven runners cross the line within a length of winner Lankan Rupee with the drama continuing post-race in the Steward’s room where Lankan Rupee was officially declared the winner after surviving a double protest. Three of the horses involved in that remarkable race are back again – Terravista ($6.00), Rebel Dane ($7.00) and Buffering ($7.50), who finished fifth, fourth and seventh respectively last year however, if any of these gallopers are to make amends this year they’ll have to get past Chautauqua – the early and dominant favourite at $2.20. The other runner at single figure odds is Srikandi ($7.00).
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1. BUFFERING – D Brown (7)
The grand campaigner made it five wins at Moonee Valley when, first up off tenth month spell, he was simply too good for them in the G1 Moir Stakes (1000m) there weeks ago, defeating Ball Of Muscle by half a length. He also won last year’s Moir before being involved in a memorable blanket finish that saw him run seventh (0.6 lengths) to Lankan Rupee in last year’s renewal of this race. Will have to do a bit of work from seven early but can never be left out.
2. CHAUTAUQUA – T Berry (2)
Appeared to have plenty of work to do when they turned for home in the McEwan Stakes (1000m) two runs back, his first run back from a twenty week spell, but displaying the turn of foot that has seen claim the title of Australia’s best sprinter, he rounded up his rivals led by Flamberge in the short Valley straight, to win by 2.5 lengths. He then gave those who took the short price about him in the G2 Gilgai Stakes some concern as he looked for clear running up the Flemington Straight, but he again let down in sensational style to record what was a soft length win on the line. An inside barrier might be a concern for a back-maker around the Valley, but his guy is no ordinary sprinter.
3. TERRAVISTA – J McDonald (1)
He had three trials leading into his return run in the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) and took advantage of a lovely split that came his way in the straight, getting the job done to record a neck win over Rebel Dane – who had the G2 The Shorts at his previous start. Has finished behind Chautauqua the last three times they have met but gets the chance to get one back on him here with what shapes as a nice run from the inside gate. Just needs a touch of luck heading into the turn to see him figure prominently.
4. REBEL DANE – B Avdulla (4)
Finished strongly to claim Ball Of Muscle right on the line and win The Short (1100m) first up from a spell before just taking a stride or two to wind up when contesting the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m), and finishing hard again to run a neck second to Terravista. Going very well is Gary Portelli’s 6yo stallion that’ll get every chance from his draw according to the speed map. He has only recorded two placings at this level in eleven starts since he won the Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and whilst he might find one or two to slick for him over the 1200m here, he maps well and could at least increase his G1 place strike-rate.
5. TIGER TEES – (9)
The 8yo has been very sparingly raced since a stellar 2014 where he claim the G1 The Galaxy among his four wins, having had three starts since. He returned off a spell to run fifth (1.7 lengths) in the G2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) where he stuck on well after leading the field into the straight. Fitter, but won’t find this any easier, especially from seven and would think there’s too much improvement for him to make.
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6. FAST’N’ROCKING – M Walker (3)
Finally broke through for his first win in eleven months, when recording a comprehensive victory in the Listed Caulfield Village Stakes (1200m) just over a week ago. The 5yo gelding relished the solid pace set and finishing strongly from worse than midfield. Meets a stronger field here though, and actually rises 1.5kgs with the WFA conditions – which he is yet to win under. Stable and Jockey are travelling well at the moment but can only see him finishing strongly for place at best.
7. RICH ENUFF – N Callow (6)
No much for Bounding first up at Caulfield before being rolled at the 7/2 favourite in the G2 Bobbie Lewis Stakes (1200m) where he had his chance before finishing sixth (1.8 lengths) behind Churchill Dancer. Given a freshen up after his only run since which saw him draw the widest gate in a field of eighteen that contested the Rupert Clarke Stakes where, after he crossed to sit on the pace early, he weakened in the straight to finish in fifteenth spot. Better suited back to this trip but in current form, would still like to see him in something easier than this.
8. SRIKANDI – K McEvoy (10)
She rounded out her last campaign with a Group 1 double, winning the Stradbroke Handicap and Tatt’s Tiara during Brisbane’s Winter Carnival. Given two trials in readiness for her return and she’s looked good in both. Had every chance first up last prep when successful in the G2 Victory Stakes over Ball Of Muscle but not so sure she’ll be afforded the same trip here from her wide draw and will have her work cut out for her from there.
9. GRIANTE – S Arnold (5)
Ran a better race than her 30/1 price suggested she would when closing strongly for fifth (1.6 lengths) in the G1 Moir Stakes (1000m). That continued her solid performances over the past few months which include a head second to Politeness and a third to Fell Swoop. Going as well as she can at the moment but still wouldn’t think that’s enough to see her counter for several of her more seasoned Group 1 performers.
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10. ALPHA MISS – C Williams (8)
Was having only her second start for over a year, and her first for seven months, when successful in the G2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) a fortnight ago. Her victory was overshadowed by the flop of Lankan Rupee however the 4yo mare, who ran second to Winx in the G2 Furious Stakes last year, should’ve been given more credit. She takes another step up here and again, capable of upsetting at least a few, of her more fancied rivals.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Buffering, Rich Enuff and Tiger Tees all go forward with Srikandi coming across from wider out, ensuring a good tempo. Terravista and Rebel Dane camp behind them and get their chance however, just can’t go past Chautauqua here. He’ll come around them and the turn of foot he possesses is special. He could’ve won each of his previous two starts by more than he did and has a good record against Terravista who appears his main danger.
- REBEL DANE