2021 Manikato Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Thu 21st October 2021


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It is Cox Plate weekend and there is no better way to start than the Group One 1200m Manikato Stakes under lights on Friday night. 13 horses accepted the challenge but with an early scratching of Despatch, there are currently 12 set to face the starter.

Savatoxl is currently $4.60 favourite, at the time of writing on Thursday morning, courtesy of Australia’s newest and most exciting betting app – Dabble. He is followed by Lomabrdo ($5) and exciting three-year-old Godolphin colt, Ingratiating ($6.50). At the time of writing the track is rated a Good(4) but there is 6-10mm of rain predicted for Melbourne on Friday afternoon & evening, meaning this track could be deep into the soft range by the time we get to race seven, which will be at 8:15pm.

There has been plenty of talk of this being a weak Group One, given the top level sprinters competed in The Everest and the Sydney Stakes last weekend, but that means that we will potentially be able to unearth a new class sprinter from this race. We have taken the time to provide you with a runner by runner preview of the 2021 Manikato Stakes and provide The Shark’s best tip below!

1. Streets Of Avalon (8) – $31
Jockey – Zac Spain
Trainer – Shane Nichols

The seven-year-old gelding comes into this off a seven-week freshen but will be hoping to have found something in his time off. Streets Of Avalon is better over further and has no fresh wins in his long career.

2. Jonker (4) – $9
Jockey – Daniel Moor
Trainer – Tony Golan

Has been unlucky in both starts this prep but a 3.2L sixth to Masked Crusader looks good enough for this, given how The Everest played out last weekend. Will need the rain to stay away and the track to be good, but has won third up and his best stats are at 1200m.

3. Despatch (SCR)

4. Savatoxl (7) – $4.60
Jockey – Luke Currie
Trainer – Tony & Calvin McEvoy

Will jump as favourite after his last start win in the G2 Schillaci over 11000m. Rising up to 1200m is no problem, as he has won half his races at the distance, including the G1 Goodwood in May. Clearly the horse to beat off his stats and career history.

5. Express Pass (10) – $23
Jockey – Rhys Mcleod
Trainer – Nick Ryan

Has had five weeks off from running but was an impressive winner over this track and distance two runs ago. He does his best work fresh so the little break may have him in good order and he won’t mind if the rain comes, with a 5:3-0-1 record on soft tracks.

6. Lombardo (3) – $5
Jockey – Jye McNeil
Trainer – Mike Price & Michael Kent Jnr

While this is a massive jump in class, when you consider he was running in a BM78 six weeks ago, Lombardo has won three on the trot, all at 1200m. Two starts back he won here at the Valley and while he had a weight advantage on the day, he still smacked them by 4 lengths. While he will prefer it to be a good track, he has won on soft before and clearly looks primed to compete in what is a weak Group One.

7. Away Game (12) – $26
Jockey – Linda Meech
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

She was no good up the straight on a soft track last start but had finished 2nd in both her runs prior to that this prep. Is a 1200m specialist but hasn’t run at the Valley before and has drawn wide. That will allow her to have clear air to burst home but she will need to find a few lengths here.

8. Bella Nipotina (1) – $11
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Bella Nipotina has been a revelation for the Maher & Eustace camp, finishing top three in all four of her runs this prep, including two wins. She finished second to Express Pass in her run this T/D in September but meets him 2kg better at the weights here and should put in another honest performance.

9. Swats That (11) – $19
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – Leon & Troy Corstens

While she has finished 1.8L behind Nature Strip previously, her first up run in the Moir left a lot to be desired. Especially when the first two contested The Everest last week and finished 9th and 12th respectively. Two of her three career wins are at the distance, including one at the Valley, but can’t be backing her off her last start effort.

10. La Mexicana (9) – $20
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman

La Mexicana is such an honest performer, always putting in a great run. She has finished in the top four without winning in all four of her runs this prep but is 1/1 at this track and distance and clearly performs well over this trip. She will be up there on the speed and likes rain affected ground, which will give her every chance to compete in this.

11. Ingratiating (6) – $6.50
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – James Cummings

Well the decision by Godolphin to send Ingratiating here and Paulele to the Coolmore may have ruined some futures bets for the punters. He had excuses last start, with something going wrong in the run, and drops down to 53kg under WFA conditions. His best is good enough and the fast pace opens the door for swoopers, but this is his first step up to 1200m this prep, after three runs at 1100m, and he hasn’t won over this distance from three tries. Will he suck us in on his potential, probably. Will we be let down again, probably, but only time will tell.

12. Sneaky Five (5) – $8
Jockey – Dean Yendall
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

The first of two interesting three-year-old fillies from the Maher & Eustace camp, Sneaky Five is yet to lose from three tries in her career. She was very impressive first up against her own age and drops 6kg from that race. Her time was only 1 second slower than Lombardo’s last win over 1200m and he rises up in weight while Sneaky Five decreases in weight. If the race is brutal up the front and they blow themselves up contesting the lead, she could find a gap and burst through here.

 13. Crystal Bound (2) – $12
Jockey – Damien Thornton
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

The other Maher/Eustace filly, Crystal Bound, comes in off a race where she had no hope of winning from gate one, getting buried in traffic. She does draw barrier two for this race but Bella Nipotina, on her inside, doesn’t have great early speed so she can go forward. Like Sneaky Five, the drop in weights is a massive boost for her chances and Damien Thornton is in form at the moment.

Final Word

While Savatoxl is a deserved favourite on the back of some impressive form last prep and a brilliant first up win, there are some questions heading into the Manikato. He has never seen the Valley before, which is clearly a massive query, and favourites haven’t fared that well over recent years, with only three winning since 2010 and none of the last five years.

Interestingly, the last two winners, Loving Gaby and Hey Doc, both won the race when third up in their preparation, with only Jonker and Crystal Bound matching that description here, the latter being a Maher & Eustace trained filly, much like Loving Gaby. However, five-year-olds and geldings have had the best success over the last 10 years and there is a five-year-old gelding that sticks out like a sore thumb in this field.

Lombardo has won three on the trot, all at 1200m, and unlike some others in the field, has actually raced at the Valley, and won. The Price & Kent Jnr camp have been targeting him at this race and given it is a weak Group One, this looks a perfect opportunity for him to complete his rise through the ranks. Given Dabble, Australia’s newest and best sports betting app, is offering a special ‘Rocket Boost’ for this race, you can get Lombardo’s odds higher than what any other bookie is offering for the race!

Best Manikato Stakes Tip: Lombardo – Win ($5)

There is plenty more Group One racing happening this weekend! If you want to check out our Runner-By-Runner analysis for the main event of the weekend, Saturday’s Cox Plate, click here! If you want a preview of the talented three-year-olds contesting the Bondi Stakes, click here! 

If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Manikato Stakes page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Dabble

Tim is a massive follower of Horse Racing, not only in Australia but around the world. Whether it be the champions of the Spring and Autumn Carnivals or following the form lines throughout winter, Tim always has an eye on everything racing. He attempts to get to every Saturday meet he can, with Turnbull Stakes Day at the home of racing, Flemington, being a stand-out! If you want a tipster that follows all form lines, ratings, conditions and weights, not just favourites, Tim is your guy.