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Southern Speed and Manighar

Southern Speed (left) and Manighar fight to the line in the Australian Cup

French gelding Manighar has taken top honours in today’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.

The Peter Moody trained six-year-old beat a small, albeit quality, eight-horse field in the stayers’ event that included five imports.

German horse Illo set the pace early and held the lead for most of the race before running out of puff with 300 metres left to run.

From that moment, Southern Speed (second) and Manighar lifted and pushed each other hard down the straight with the French star just edging out the local hope.

Trainer Moody was thrilled with Manighar bringing him his first Australian Cup.

“It’s a tremendous thrill, I’ve never been competitive in one of these,” Moody said.

“I was a little bit cock-a-hoop about chasing my third Newmarket but this well and truly makes up for it.

“This is a great result. He’s a terrific old horse.”

The next big target on the gelding’s radar is the BMW and Moody is confident about his chances.

“The BMW is the race we’ve really targeted. I know this [Australian Cup] is a time honoured race.

“But a mile and a half and another month for him to work me out and me to work him out. I think we’re going to have a better combination.”

Eventual third-place getter Americain chased the two front runners hard in the final fifty metres but the former Melbourne Cup winner left his charge just a little too late.

Race winner Manighar paid $6.50.

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