Proven weight for age performer Manighar could be the stumbling block for star Kiwi three year old It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $500,000 Santos Coffee Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Melbourne’s leading trainer Peter Moody expects Manighar to peak at his fourth run back from a spell and be the testing material for It’s A Dundeel who is stepping up to weight for age for the first time in his career.
Cambridge trainer Murray Baker has keep the High Chaparral colt to his own age to date with great success and feels the time is right to test his stable star against the older horses after scoring a sensational six length win in the Group 1 $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 13.
“It’s A Dundeel has looked outstanding but he’s got to step up against the older horses,” Moody said.
Saturday’s race has been Manighar’s Autumn target and Moody is confident that the imported grey can regain the form that took all before him this time last.
Moody took over the training of Manighar following the 2011 Spring Carnival and transformed the stayer into the star weight for age horse of the 2012 Autumn Carnivals with three consecutive Group 1 victories.
Manighar narrowly won the $1m Darley Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington before heading to Sydney to take out the $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and the $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill at Rosehill.
Moody could see plenty of improvement in Manihgar’s last start fourth to Pierro in the Group 1 $400,000 The Daily Telegraph George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 6 and the seven year old also performed well on the track during the week.
“I thought his last run was probably his best ever for me,” Moody said.
“He galloped really well during the week and this is the race we’ve targeted him for.”
“He had a week of showjumping after his last run which is something we’ve done before with him and he’s been back at the Sydney stables since last week.”
Manighar’s winning run came to an end in this race last year with Sydney’s favourite mare More Joyous proving too strong on the day as the she went through the Autumn undefeated.
Luke Nolen will once again be aboard Manighar as he leads the field out onto the track and will be able to settle the grey away from the fence after jumping from the outside barrier in the nine horse field.
It’s A Dundeel, from gate five, will start the short priced favourite following his three Autumn Group 1 victories with Michael Rodd taking over from regular rider James McDonald who is suspended.