Trainer Ron Leemon might have to review Cox Plate plans for his stable star Manawanui after the four year old is taking longer than expected to recover from a tough gallop over the weekend.
Manawanui is off his feed after galloping at Warwick Farm on Saturday and if he doesn’t pick up in the next couple of days, Leemon might have to take his eyes off the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 and turn his attention to other goals.
Last year’s Group 1 Golden Rose winner Manawanui was to step out for the first time for the Spring in the Group 2 $175,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm on August 25 but Leemon is concerned with the four year old after taking longer than normal to get over Saturday’s gallop.
“Races like the Warwick Stakes will obviously be off his program at this stage so when I think he’s right I’ll sit down and have a look at the programme and redesign something,” Leemon said.
“I’ll train him as a sprinter miler if I can’t get him right in the next few weeks,” Leemon said.
“If I can’t get him right, we’ll put him in the paddock.”
“To get him to a Cox Plate I have to start soon but there are plenty of mile races, sprint races around anyhow.”
Leemon will monitor Manwanui and give him a couple of easy days and will call in his vet if the four year old doesn’t get back on his feed and pick up.
“He’s not eating up at this stage, since Saturday,” Leemon said.
“He’s just eating enough so I’m going to give him an easy week, an easy 10 days, just trotting and cantering to try and get him back on his tucker.”
“It is a concern because he loves his food. With him not eating you can’t put any work into him.”
“I just hope he hasn’t got a bug or something.”
Manawanui failed to live up to expectation in the Autumn after creating a huge impression in the Spring with a win in the Group 1 $1m Toohey’s New Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on September 10 last year.
Leemon then ventured to Melbourne and the then three year old was beaten in a photo finish by Darley’s Helmet in the Group 1 $1m Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 8 before scoring as a short priced favourite in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Manawanui was then sent for a spell after finishing sixth to Sangster in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 29.
Racegoers failed to see the best of Manawanui in the Autumn when he was beaten three times as favourite, the latest when one and a half length fifth to smart Victorian filly Mosheen in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17.