A Rosehill barrier trial win has convinced trainer Ron Leemon that Manawanui will be right in the finish of the Group 1 $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Leemon took Manawanui to Rosehill to top him off for the weight for age Winter Carnival feature a week and a half ago and the four year old was able to hold out Doomben 10,000 rivals Epaulette and Rangirangdoo at the end of the 1030m trial.
The Warwick Farm trainer has had to nurse Manawanui slowly back to race fitness after he suffered a bleeding attack in the Spring when he finished down the track in the Group 2 $200,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Shorts (1200m) at Randwick on September 22.
At his first run for six months, Manawanui ran a mighty race when fifth to Rarefied in the Listed $100,000 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 27 convincing Leemon that he was on his way back to his best.
“I suppose I don’t know if he’ll ever get back to his best but the way he is going, he is going to be right in the race,” Leemon said.
“It has been a long process to get him back but he has done everything right this preparation.”
“I was very happy, delighted, with his first-up run. I was initially worried only that he would come through without any problems, which he did.
“Then I had a good look at his run and if he had got that gap earlier in the straight, he would have been right in the finish.”
Leemon opted for a barrier trial as opposed to giving him another run prior to the Doomben 10,000 and was happy he bypassed the Group 1 $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm two weeks ago on a heavy track.
“I would have liked to have given him another run before the 10,000 but there wasn’t anything suitable. The only race he could have raced in was the BTC Cup and, as it turned out, that was run on a very heavy track and I would not have started him,” Leemon said.
Jockey Glyn Schofield will continue his successful association with Manawanui, having ridden the four year old to five of his six wins, including his victory in the 2011 Group 1 $1m Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill.
The Joe Pride trained Rain Affair is again certain to put plenty of speed into the race and this will suit Manawanui’s racing style.
“The way I look at the race, Manawanui is the fresh horse on the scene now,” Leemon said.
“There is plenty of speed in this race and that will suit us. Glyn will ride him nice and quiet and I’m sure he will hit the line.”
Manawanui is currently a $21 chance with BTC Cup winner Your Song heading the betting at $3.50 with local sprinter Buffering the second pick at $5 with the Peter Snowden trained Epaulette.
Rain Affair is an $8.50 chance to lead all the way while promising three year old Better Than Ready is quoted at $10.