Manikato Stakes History
The feature takes place under the lights on Friday night, is run under weight-for-age (WFA) conditions over 1200 metres and carries prizemoney of $1 million.
That figure makes it one of the richest WFA sprint races in the country.
First run in 1968 and won by Winfreux, it was then known as the Freeway Stakes until it was changed to its current name in 1984, in honour of the great Manikato who won this race in 1979 and again in 1982.
During his illustrious career, Manikato developed a love for the tight Moonee Valley circuit which suited his front running style of racing. Before he retired, he was accredited with winning the 1982 Moir Stakes, and no less than five consecutive William Reid Stakes, all run at The Valley.
The Manikato Stakes attracts some of the best sprinters in the land who are all returning for the major sprint races run during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
From the Manikato Stakes, many horses venture onto the VRC Sprint Classic on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington, which is the last Group 1 sprint race of the carnival.
The honour roll for this event reads as the who’s who of champion sprinters with names like Vain (1969), Strawberry Road (1983), Rubiton (1987) and in later years Dane Ripper (1998), Redoute’s Choice (1999), the mighty mare Sunline (2000), Miss Andretti (2006), Hay List (2010), Buffering (2013), Lankan Rupee (2014) and Chautauqua (2015).
A listed race until 1978, it was then upgraded to a Group 2 and remained that way until after Our Westminster’s victory when it earned Group 1 status.