Trainer Peter Moody has revealed that the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) will now be the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival target for triple Group 1 winner Manighar.
Manighar was a first acceptor for the Caulfield Cup and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Moody said before the seven-year-olds first-up run in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) that he did not know which race he would target.
The Linamix gelding was far from disgraced when finishing sixth behind Foreteller in the Makybe Diva Stakes last Saturday but Moody told TVN that he believes returning to handicap races, where he started his Australian racing career, was the best option for Manighar.
“He’ll run in the Underwood on Saturday then go to the Turnbull (Stakes) before he goes into the Caulfield Cup,” Moody said.
“He has to go back to handicap races now.”
Manighar will face a tough test in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday, with the final field set to included glamour mare Atlantic Jewel, 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune, three-year-old Triple Crown winner It’s A Dundeel and highly-rated import Sea Moon.
Manighar finished sixth in the 2012 edition of the race and Moody is expecting a similar performance this weekend despite being happy with the condition of the tough gelding.
“He has come through his first-up run well and his fitness has improved,” Moody said.
“Sometimes his second-up run can be a bit below par but he needs the run.”
Although he has raced exclusively at weight-for-age level since joining Moody’s stable at the end of 2011, the Caulfield Cup is not a foreign race for Manighar and he contested the race when under the care of Luca Cumani on two occasions.
In 2010, he finished an unlucky fifth behind Descarado after suffering interference in the early stages of the race and failing to find a clear run in the straight, while in 2011 he ran on strongly to finish fourth behind Southern Speed.
Manighar will carry 56.5kg in the Caulfield Cup – the same weight he carried in the 2011 edition of the race.