Melbourne jockey Mark Zahra has picked up the ride on Group 1 winning mare English in the Group 1 $1m Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Zahra has been called up to replace Sam Clipperton who failed to get a release from the Hong Kong Jockey Club because of the impending arrival of Typhoon Haima in South China which would greatly affect his travel arrangement to Melbourne and then back to Hong Kong for Sunday’s Sha Tin meeting.
Leading Hong Kong jockey Joao Moreira found himself in the same situation and had to relinquish several rides at Moonee Valley on Saturday including Vadamos in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m).
English claimed a Group 1 victory with her win in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick during the Sydney Autumn Carnival but has been beaten as favourite at her two Spring Carnival runs but co-trainer Gai Waterhouse expects her to turn up at Moonee Valley on Friday night in top order.
The Encosta De Lago mare was beaten just less than two lengths when fifth to Takedown in the Group 2 $200,000 The Bowermans Office Furniture The Shorts (1100m) at Randwick on September 17 and then was fourth again to the Gary Moore trained sprinter in the Group 2 $300,000 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on October 1 .
“That is important for her because it will give her the chance to use her sprint off a good speed,” Waterhouse told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think she is at her peak and we will see her best on Friday.”
“She went to Moonee Valley on Tuesday and worked very well and handled the track.”
English will jump from barrier nine in the eleven horse field and is on the third line of betting at $9.50 for the Manikato Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the $2.40 favourite Chautauqua and the three year old Capitalist at $7.
Market order for the Manikato Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.40 Chautauqua, $7 Capitalist, $9.50 English, $10 Fell Swoop, Buffering, $12 Holler, $13 Lucky Hussler, $15 The Quarterback, $21 Under The Louvre, $41 Rebel Dane, Japonisme.