Trainer Tony McEvoy believes that promising juvenile Manhattan Blues will be suited by the step-up to 1200 metres when he contests the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Manhattan Blues made his racing debut with a solid win in the Schweppes Plate (1000m) at Morphettville Parks on January 10 and he finished a credible sixth behind Burnstone in the Listed Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) at Sandown on Australia Day before he chased home stablemate Stoker in the Inglis Premier (1000m) at the same venue on February 7.
McEvoy has a very high opinion of Stoker and he told Racing Ahead that the Inglis Premier winner has always had more speed than his stablemate, but he believes that Manhattan Blues is better suited to 1200 metres and could perform better than his current 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes odds suggest.
“He is a horse that will be a mile to a mile and a quarter horse,” McEvoy said of Manhattan Blues.
“The reason I didn’t pay up for him was because I thought he would come up later than this, but every time I have asked him to do something he has just continued to please.
“If you look at his last 200 the other day when he was taking ground off Stoker you would think that he would be very strong at the end of 1200.
“All you do at this stage is test them for speed and Stoker has always had the mettle of the two and he has always been a little bit sharper and a bit faster.
“Now that we are out to 1200 metres that will get a bit more even now.”
Manhattan Blues was not included in the initial entries for the Blue Diamond Stakes and connections opted to pay the late entry fee of $55,000 to get him into the 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes field.
McEvoy said that he was happy for connections to pay the late entry fee and he is very happy with the condition of the Manhattan Rain gelding heading into the Blue Diamond Stakes this weekend.
“The ownership were very keen to run him in this race and my job was to make sure that the horse was well, sound and perfect,” McEvoy said.
“I can’t fault that horse and he has trained on magnificently.
“He has come on in leaps and bounds I think as well.
“The first time to Caulfield you are always a little bit nervous, but he has learnt a lot each time that he has stepped out that big horse and he is getting around at home here very laidback and very casual.
“I am sure that he will run well.”
Manhattan Blues is currently available at 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes odds of $41, while Fontiton ($2.50) remains a clear favourite from Pride Of Dubai ($5.50), Of The Brave ($10) and Sampeah ($10).