Ron Leemon is looking to run Golden Rose winning gelding Manawanui in the Group 2 AAMI Vase (now called the Mitchelton Wines Vase) next start before taking on $1.5 million Victoria Derbyover 2,500 metres later this month.
The trainer will use the 2,040 metre AAMI Vase to gauge whether the three-year-old can handle the longer distance.
Manawanui finished a gallant second to Peter Snowden’s Helmet in the $1 million Caulfield Guineas last Saturday.
Leemon is not at all tempted to head down the path of the $3 million Cox Plate with Manawanui and believes the race may end the preparation of rival Helmet.
“Another hard run may end this preparation for him,” Leemon said.
“I think if we went to the Cox Plate it would be a hard race.
“If you had a hard run in that you wouldn’t go in the Derby.
“So for me it’s obvious (to) just go back to the three-year-olds set-weight.
“We’ll just go (to the AAMI Vase) before the Derby and see how he handles the distance.”
Leemon predicts an epic clash between Helmet and Manawanui come the autumn racing carnival in Sydney next year.
“I don’t think there’s much between them and if Hemet’s still hear next year I think there would be some great clashes,” he said.
Manawanui has won five of his seven career starts since he debuted in March this year and has accrued more than $1 million in prize money.