Last year’s Golden Rose winner Manawanui is back on the Spring Carnival campaign trail after pleasing trainer Ron Leemon in a Warwick Farm barrier trial today.
Leemon had to abort Manawanui’s Cox Plate ambitions after the four year old went off his feed following an exhibition gallop at Warwick Farm on August 11.
The Warwick Farm trainer had almost conceded that a total Spring campaign was off the agenda but has managed to get his stable star back to race fitness.
Ridden by regular partner Glyn Schofield, Manawanui finished second to McClintock in an 800m trial and Leemon was happy with the progress of his Group 1 winner.
“I was happy with him. He settled back and ran home well,” Leemon said.
“Providing he pulls up well he’ll go to the Shorts and then the Premiere Stakes on Epsom day.”
With the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley off the table, Leemon will pursue a sprinting program during the Spring Carnival.
Leemon has pencilled in the Group 2 $200,000 The Shorts (1200m) on September 22 followed by the Group 2 $200,000 Premier Stakes (1200m) on October 6, both at Randwick.
“He’s just about right now. We’ll be keeping him to the sprints this preparation and I think he can be very effective over those trips,” Leemon said.
Leemon had high hopes of more Group 1 wins after Manawanui took out the Group 1 $1m De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill last September but was forced to cut short the then three year old’s Autumn after failing to win at three starts as favourite and was hoping for a return to form in the Spring.
Manawanui was beaten on two occasions when runner up as a short price favourite in the Group 2 $175,000 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 18 and the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on March 3.
Leemon then decided to send the gelding to the paddock after finishing out of a place as favourite again in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnpoint Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17 won by Mosheen.