Manikato Stakes Tips & Preview 2023

Image from Moonee Valley Racing Club Facebook


Looking for Manikato Stakes tips and best bets? We dissect times and form to find the winner of the 2023 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.


A field of seven gallopers are in action for the first of the two Group 1 races at Moonee Valley and it is Imperatriz that dominates the market at the $1.45 quote with Dabble, while Buenos Noches and I Am Me are both at $7.50. Uncommon James is the only other horse under double figures and is at $8. Jigsaw ($23), The Inferno ($26) and I Am War ($91) make up the rest of the field. 


Imperatriz will be out to become the first horse to win the Moonee Valley Triple Crown of sprinting Group 1 races in the same calendar year, having claimed the William Reid Stakes (1200m) and the Moir Stakes (1000m) in 2023. 

She broke her own track record recently by saluting in the Moir Stakes on Grand Final eve, going 56.52 over the five furlongs and 14.2 lengths faster than standard benchmark, leaving the likes of Asfoora in her wake. The runner-up has since dominated her rivals at Caulfield in the Schillaci Stakes (1100m). 

The Kiwi mare is a deserved favourite for this and it is hard to find a chink in her armour. The five-year-old draws perfectly in barrier 4 and will be ridden by OP Bosson. Her last run over the 1200m was in the William Reid, knocking over Bella Nipotina, who won this race by four lengths last year.

The Inferno also comes out of the Moir Stakes and was well beaten into 4th position, beaten just over three lengths. The question might just be, which horse can run the exacta. 

Uncommon James is the logical choice and chased gamely for 3rd in the Moir. He was beaten three lengths by Asfoora in the Schillaci Stakes. Best form has been over the 1200m with three wins from four attempts, as well as an unlucky 8th in the $4 million Quokka over at Ascot earlier this year. 

The Queensland galloper claimed the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) earlier in 2023, going 14.6 lengths faster than standard benchmark, which is a better figure than what any horse in this race has produced in the past two year. 

Buenos Noches is a quality specimen but may just lack the killer punch at this level. The four-year-old by Supido didn’t enjoy the best time of it when 8th in the Everest (1200m) behind Think About It recently and was a tad luckless behind Private Eye prior to that. 

I Am Me won the Everest consolation race, the Sydney Stakes (1200m) at his most recent start, landing ahead of the likes of Bella Nipotina, who was 3rd. The Maher/Eustace galloper has won nine of 16 and might be putting it all together. James McDonald rides the five-year-old mare, who was probably due for a spell when 7th behind Uncommon James in the Oakleigh Plate earlier this year. 

Jigsaw and I Am War are the other two runners. Jigsaw should improve after running 5th when fresh in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington recently. His career peak of 10.5 lengths faster than standard came over the 1200m at Moonee Valley earlier this year when bolting home in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m). I Am War starts at big odds and looks outclassed. 


Impossible to go past Imperatriz. She looks to be a lock for multi’s in what is a big day of racing. Jigsaw is the one that adds value to exacta’s He went too hard in the William Reid Stakes when dropping out of it earlier this year but his previous run at the track and trip was excellent. Improvement to come at his second run back.