Trainer Ron Leeman has sent his top three year old Manawanui to the spelling paddock with his sights set on this year’s Cox Plate in the Spring.
Leeman decided to pull up stumps after Manawanui had a tough run in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
From three runs in the Autumn, Manawanui has had two unlucky seconds and a last start fifth to Mosheen in the Randwick Guineas and Leemon decided that it was best to give him a break and prepare for the Group 1 Tatts Cox Plate (2040m) in October.
“I decided yesterday that the horse will go to the spelling paddock,” Leemon said.
“It’s been on my mind since the run last Saturday and he’ll go tomorrow.”
“On Saturday he had a gut-busting run. He pulled up totally exhausted.”
“He’s a topliner and if he had another hard run like that it could just wreck him mentally and physically and it’s just not worth the risk.”
“Basically I’m looking at the long-term picture. I want him nice and fresh and right for the spring carnival.”
The Golden Rose winner had no luck at his first two starts this campaign with a narrow second to Hot Snitzel in the Group 2 $175,000 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18 after being held up in the straight.
And then he was first past the post in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 3 only to be relegated to second after a protest from Wild And Proud’s rider Nash Rawiller was successful.
Lemon has said all along that Manawanui would have a relatively short Autumn campaign with the spring his main priority and wanted to go to Melbourne with a fresh horse.
“I don’t want to go down there with a flat horse or a horse that has partly been burnt out,” he said.
“Since last year it’s always been the Cox Plate. We’ll start off in Sydney and maybe have one or two runs in Melbourne before the Cox Plate.”