Ron Leemon is adamant Manawanui could have stayed the trip if ridden differently in the 2011 Victoria Derby, the only race of his career where the horse didn’t live up to expectations.
It was a frustrating end to Manawanui’s spring campaign which before that was nearly perfect.
Manawanui won his first three events this season including a Group 1 victory in the Golden Rose in Sydney.
He came so close to claiming a second top flight win as well when beaten by a head to Helmet in the Caulfield Guineas in Melbourne.
Twice he won at Group 2 level in the Stan Fox Stakes and Mitchelton Wines Vase but it was the Victoria Derby that was the ultimate goal.
He started favourite in the race but after sitting just off the speed he hit his limit half way down the straight and could only manage sixth.
Leemon though says that’s not to say he couldn’t run a Derby trip in the future.
“He wasn’t ridden the way I wanted him to be ridden…I wanted him ridden back,” he said.
“He was up too close in my opinion, he (Glyn Schofield) popped him out at the 800m and it’s a long way home there around Flemington.”
Since the Derby Manawanui has been spelling and packing on plenty of kilos.
“He’s done very very well,” Leemon said.
“Three days after the derby I put him in a grass paddock.
“He’s putting on weight, ill just monitor that for the next couple of weeks.”
He says he’s in no rush to bring the horse back and he’ll simply pop up somewhere in the autumn.
“He’s going t have at least a minimum of five weeks, if he needs more I’ll give him more,” he said.
“I only want to give him a short prep looking at Melbourne next year in the spring.”
Leemon says he’ll have a maximum of five runs throughout autumn but hasn’t decided whether it will be Sydney, Melbourne or a mixture.
He has indicated though that the Sydney Derby currently isn’t on his radar.