There is no Black Caviar or Hay List but the Manikato Stakes (1200m) is set to be an explosive affair with an impressive list of 45 horses included in initial nominations for the Group 1 sprint.
Heading the pack is Queensland five-year-old Buffering who is attempting to score his first Group 1 victory in the $750,000 event at Moonee Valley on October 26.
The Robert Heathcote-trained star will kick off his spring campaign on Friday in the Moir Stakes (1200m) where he will take on fellow Manikato Stakes entrant Tiger Tees.
Tiger Tees upset stablemate Rain Affair in the Concorde Stakes earlier this month who failed to kick away in his usual fashion on a firm Warwick Farm surface.
It is not yet known where Rain Affair’s next spring outing will be but Pride declared prior to his campaign that the Manikato was the primary target.
The Manikato is also likely to feature a rematch between Buffering and Sea Siren who defeated the Queensland sprinter on his home turf in the Doomben 10,000 in May.
Black Caviar’s absence has failed to dampen Peter Moody’s presence in the feature sprint with the leading trainer nominating six horses.
Among those are multiple Group 1 placegetter King’s Rose, Stradbroke Handicap winner Mid Summer Music and promising four-year-old Moment Of Change.
As expected Darley also have a strong hand with Peter Snowden entering five of his charges including consistent gelding Pinwheel and the largely untapped Mental.
Mental is yet to be seen this spring but signalled plenty of potential during a Brisbane winter campaign where he won the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) and the Listed Daybreak Lover (1600m) in dominant fashion.
Queensland trainer Tony Gollan has two entries with Galaxy winner Temple Of Boom and half-brother Spirit Of Boom with other notable nominations including Tim Martin’s Pampelonne, dual Group 1 winner Atomic Force and star filly Snitzerland.