Manawanui draws perfectly for Victoria Derby


Manawanui has drawn barrier 8 for the Victoria Derby

The dream of winning the Group 1 $1.5m Victoria Derby (2500m) is within reach of trainer Ron Leemon after Manawanui drew perfectly today for Saturday’s race.

Manawanui drew barrier eight and if the emergencies are withdrawn he will jump from six.

“I’m very happy, I picked the right hat and I feel the pressure is now off me and now (jockey) Glyn (Schofield).

“I can see Glyn settle the horse in fifth or sixth position during the race and hopefully win from there.”

Bookmakers are taking no chances with the Sydney gelding with $2.30 being offered by TABsportsbet.

They have Induna at $5.50 and Niagara, who drew poorly, $8 with the rest of the 16 horse field at double figure odds.

Last week Leemon had Schofield settle Manawanui back in the field in the Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) to see if the usual front/on-pace runner would relax.

The son of Oratorio (IRE) and Lady Remlap took to it like a duck to water prior to taking care of the Vase field under a hold.

He defeated Collar by two and a half lengths and Leemon is ecstatic with the way Manawanui has come out of the race.

“I am extremely happy with him, I think he is better today than before he ran in the Vase,” he said.

Manawanui worked half pace on Tuesday and will do 2000m at three quarter pace tomorrow.

“We will let him run home the final 400m in 26 or 27 seconds,” Leemon said.

Rain is expected in Melbourne on Friday with a shower or two predicted for Saturday.

Leemon is hoping for a dead rating but points to Manawanui’s imposing record when saying the track condition probably wouldn’t affect its chances.

Manawanui is a winner of six of his eight starts and four at black type, he is undefeated on slow or heavy ground from two starts but has also won in the dry.

There is little doubt the Group 1 Golden Rose winner is the class runner  in the Derby and it is his race to lose but Leemon sees dangers.

“I think there are five or six horses on pedigree that have a chance and I particularly think Peter Snowden’s galloper Induna is a danger,” Leemon said.

“The 2500m is a question mark for all runners but my fellow settles well and he has staying lines on his dam’s side.”

“Oratorio’s stock have also been known to get over a bit of ground as well.”

While is all smile with the Leemon stable Mike Moroney and Gai Waterhouse won’t be sharing in barrier draw joy.

Last start Norman Robinson winner Sabrage is in 16 while Niagara, the unlucky runner in the same event, drew worse in 18.

Moroney wasn’t convinced Sabrage (by Charge Forward-Galroof) would get 2500m before the Norman Robinson but was convinced after that effort over 2000m at Caulfield.

The draw in the 16 horse field is likely to see Sabrage settle back further than sixth, the position he settled in the Norman Robinson and his staying prowess will be truly tested.

Niagara settled third in that Caulfield race but from the wide draw is another who is likely to have to settle further back than desired.

Snowden’s Induna hasn’t really got a staying pedigree but seems to enjoy each rise in distance.

He easy won the Geelong Classic (2200m) and though a class question mark hangs over the race, he was impressive.

Drawn in 12 Induna is again likely to settle behind Manawanui in the run.

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp Rating
1 311X11121 MANAWANUI Ron Leemon Glyn Schofield 8 55.5kg 108
2 67513X0718 ISOPACH John P Thompson Joao Moreira 17 55.5kg 84
3 1X4132 COLLAR (NZ) Robert Hickmott Nicholas Hall 4 55.5kg 80
4 1X0431 SABRAGE Michael Moroney Damien Oliver 16 55.5kg 88
5 10X12832 SANGSTER (NZ) Trent Busuttin Hugh Bowman 9 55.5kg 84
6 331113 PERFECT PUNCH Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Ms Clare Lindop 13 55.5kg 78
7 0X88X37311 INDUNA Peter Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 12 55.5kg 80
8 1X43134 COSTLY COMMITMENT Mick Price Craig Newitt 6 55.5kg 70
9 36X3513493 SCELTO (NZ) Robbie Laing Dwayne Dunn 10 55.5kg 66
10 42X213 NIAGARA Gai Waterhouse Nash Rawiller 18 55.5kg 74
11 3212592 CORNELL Anthony Freedman Craig Williams 3 55.5kg 68
12 0127 EAGLE COMMAND Gary Portelli Dean Yendall 15 55.5kg 67
13 9245 ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ) Leon Corstens Stephen Baster 5 55.5kg 66
14 72X494 I FEEL GOOD Frankie Stockdale Brenton Avdulla 11 55.5kg 62
15 549X551 RAPIDUS (NZ) Bart Cummings Steven Arnold 14 55.5kg 62
16 51034 MR CHEZ (NZ) Graeme & Debbie Rogerson Michael Rodd 2 55.5kg 64
17e 437119 MUSTANG (NZ) David R Miller Corey Brown 1 55.5kg 65
18e 0X7771 MONSILI Shane A Edwards Luke Currie 7 55.5kg 60

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