Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday, October 23rd.
This is the feature race of the night on Cox Plate eve, with a field of 11 sprinters set to line up over 1200m at Moonee Valley.
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2020 Manikato Stakes Preview & Betting Tips
A key factor to consider here is the weather, with plenty of rain predicted in Melbourne on Friday. If it all hits Moonee Valley, we can expect a significant track downgrade into at least the Soft range.
There looks to be speed aplenty with (8) Pippie the quickest of the lot and drawn in barrier 1. If she steps away cleanly, she’ll kick up and hold out (2) Hey Doc who is likely to settle outside her. (4) Splintex and (9) Bella Vella will go forward from barriers 9 and 10 respectively but risk being caught wide speed drawn to the inside in the form of (10) Diamond Effort. I suspect we are likely to see (6) Dirty Work more forward tonight from his low draw, while (3) Kementari should hold a spot in midfield from gate 5. (7) Lyre will need to step away well and should be among those horses from 4, but Order Of Command has a tricky map with barrier 11, however the positive is he may be able to find the back of Bella Vella or Splintex who are drawn to his immediate inside. Trekking was further forward in The Everest but is likely to be midfield or worse here, while the sole backmarker in the field is (11) Brooklyn Hustle.
There’s a number of chances here but I’m tipping (1) Trekking on top with the hope that the track isn’t completely saturated. His run first up in the Moir Stakes behind Pippie was outstanding, over a distance short of his best, and he then ran 4th in last weekend’s The Everest. He comes here on the one-week back up but we’ve seen him race well under those circumstances before, when he won the Schillachi Stakes last year and then ran 3rd in The Everest a week later. He should get the pace to suit here and from the draw he can let rip down the outside. I suspect the price will drift out closer to the race so perhaps best to wait.
(8) Pippie had the Moir Stakes parcelled up after about 100m when her main rival for the lead missed the start. That allowed her to control the race as she liked and she was never getting run down. She draws barrier 1 here so will need to step cleanly or it will be all over. She tends to fall away the further she goes into her prep but I don’t think that first up run was particularly taxing on her, and second up last prep she was ridden terribly so forgive her for failing that day. If she finds the lead and can control the race, she will be very hard to run down again.
(6) Dirty Work comes here after winning the Schillachi Stakes at Caulfield last start, which was a big effort coming from last. He’s got a very good short, sharp sprint, so barrier 3 works out well for him. He will get a suck run and if he gets a split at the top of the straight, he will pierce the gap and won’t have to maintain a long sprint in the short Moonee Valley straight.
The horse that has been set for this race all along is (2) Hey Doc, who loves this track and this distance. He’s won three times here at The Valley and four times at 1200m. His two starts at the track and distance have bred a G2 win and a G2 2nd. He’d probably be better suited in a race he could lead in and dictate, but he should be able to get to Pippie’s outside and get his chance to run her down.
If they go lickety-split up front, look for (11) Brooklyn Hustle launching home down the middle of the track. She was only a length off them in the Moir Stakes and I expect them to run along quicker here, which will suit her. 1200m at this level is a small query but she’ll be sitting back hoping they overdo it up the front.
I’ve got this between (1) Trekking ($3.90) and (6) Dirty Work ($6.50) and at the prices we can play both, however I do think we will see Trekking start a good bit longer than that.
Value: (6) Dirty Work $6.50