Manikato Stakes Tips & Preview
Looking for Manikato Stakes race analysis and tips? Our form expert dissects the race from every possible angle and gives his top predictions.
Manikato Stakes Preview
Honestly, straight off the bat, Friday night’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley is one of the most even Group 1 races I have ever seen.
11 sprinters come through five different form races, and every runner has recorded a similar benchmark (BM) ratings performance at their most recent start.
Kementari boast the strongest last start effort when going 12.8 lengths quicker than standard BM when 4th in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
The next best BM performances in order are: Dirty Work (-12.4), Diamond Effort (-12.3), Pippie (-11.9), Trekking (-11.6), Hey Doc (-11.6), Splintex (-11.3), Bella Vella (-10.7), Brooklyn Huslte (-10.6), Lyre (-8.7) and Order Of Command (-8.6).
Trekking has produced the strongest career performance going 16.8 lengths quicker than BM while Order Of Command adds to having the lowest last start effort by also having the lowest career effort of -11.5.
Bella Vella and Brooklyn Hustle ran their PBs last start in the Moir Stakes, and there were a couple that I think outperformed them in that race.
Who has the strongest form line?
Pippie was my tip in the Moir Stakes and led all the way for us at $9, but she wouldn’t have wanted it much longer as Trekking was breathing down her next as he charged home into 2nd.
Trekking now faces the seven-day back up which he has only done once in his career when finishing less than a length 3rd from Yes Yes Yes in the 2019 The Everest which was run in track record time.
Trekking was third-up into that Everest run and is now third-up into the Manikato, and that form and peak pattern must be respected.
Trekking’s stablemate Kementari finished 4th behind Zoutori, Dollar For Dollar and Kemalpasa in the Gilgai Stakes and Dollar For Dollar was last in The Everest.
Tofane was 9th in The Everest after finishing 5th in the Gilgai and Santa Ana Lane was 6th in The Everest after a 6th in the Gilgai.
Trekking’s form lines up as stronger than Kementari and his peak pattern suggests he’ll run a massive race on the quick turnaround.
Who loom as the main dangers?
There are two runners I think pose the biggest threat to Trekking.
Hey Doc first raced at The Valley in 2016 and won a 1500m handicap before making it two from two at the track when winning the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at his next start.
He returned to The Valley in 2017 and won the Manikato Stakes and then suffered his first defeat at The Valley when first-up in the Norman Carlyon Stakes (1000m) where he finished 5th.
In January 2020, Hey Doc was runner-up to Scales Of Justice in the Australia Stakes (1200m) after an eight-week break where he just seemed to peak with 100m to go.
His first-up run after the longest break in his career (33 weeks) was sensational.
He was caught three and four wide without cover in the Moir Stakes and still battled gamely to finish 2.8 lengths from Pippie.
Considering he is now a seven-year-old and was coming of a long break and did it so tough in the Moir, I think it was the run of the race.
Hey Doc then beaten 0.8 of a length by Dirty Work and Diamond Effort in the Schillaci Stakes (1100m) last start, but he can take the most improvement from that run and turn the tables on that pair.
Dirty Work is the other horse I rate as a top hope, and his final 600m last start rated 14.4 lengths quicker than standard BM – it was a massive run.
However, Dirty Work has never raced at The Valley before and he maps to go back near last with a wall of horses around him.
Who will win the Manikato Stakes in 2020?
I have Trekking on the outside of Dirty Work or one pair further pack, while Hey Doc maps to sit right behind Pippie and should get a perfect slingshot off her back in the straight.
Hey Doc represents great value for a horse with a great record at The Valley and he’s a previous winner of the race.
Note: there is rain predicted in Melbourne for Friday and a severe track downgrade would throw a spanner in the works for most runners with no clear standout for a rain-affected track.