The 2011 Manikato Stakes has without doubt being one of the most anticipated events of the new season throughout the horse racing community.
It seems though that the excitement isn’t just restricted to the outside audience either with trainers and jockeys also revealing their enthusiasm ahead of the Group 1 feature at Moonee valley tonight.
Perhaps the person best displaying this feeling is Nash Rawiller, the jockey of More Joyous.
Not only does he get to feature in arguably the race of the spring so far, it’s also his first race with the glamour mare since her lengthy spell.
“I’ve been waiting in anticipation for quite some time, finally arrived and I can’t wait to get back on the great mares back,” he said.
He says people can expect to see a different horse in terms of appearance tonight, although he hopes the results will stay the same.
“As she’s got older she’s got more mature, filled out and furnished and now you see the all round package,” he said.
“She’s a big strong mare and a real athlete.
“She’s one of those horses that whatever you ask of her she just get the jobs done.”
As for the persistent wet weather hanging around Melbourne at the moment Rawiller is confident she’ll perform regardless of the conditions.
“No concern to me, we can’t help the weather but she’s very adaptable, she’s got the work under her,” he said.
Although there are only eight runners in the Manikato Stakes the early speed game looks vital and according to Rawiller somewhat unpredictable.
“I wish I could predict what would happen…I like to go into these races with an open mind and see how my mare begins,” he said.
“It’s very important in these races that you jump well…from there it’s just making the right decision at the right time.”
Rawiller is stressing the point that even though this is the first run of her preparation More Joyous is going into this race ready to win.
“Whatever she does tonight it’s all looking forward to the future but there’ll be no excuses after the race,” he said.
The jockey rates Sepoy as probably his main danger but given the choice to trade places he has no doubts where he’d rather be.
“He shows all the attributes, has wonderful colt there’s not doubt about that, I have a lot of respect for what he’s chivvied,” he said.
“I wouldn’t swap.”