Peter Moody will concentrate on a Cox Plate campaign for weight for age star Manighar after the imported grey has continued to improve since his very unlucky second at Flemington when resuming for the Spring.
Manighar has impressed Moody with his continued progression and the premiership trainer will bypass the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 and aim at the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27.
“He worked at the Valley on Saturday morning and I’ll take him back again to work, just to let him get accustomed to the Valley for Cox Plate day,” Moody said.
Manighar proved that he was back on track for a successful Spring Carnival when he went down by a nose to last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed in the Group 2 $300,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 8 after being badly held up for a run in the straight and will take his next step towards the Cox Plate in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday .
The seven year old figures heavily in the Stewards’ report after Luke Nolen was unable to push into the clear while Craig Williams on Southern Speed had stolen a winning break at the 300m and held out the fast finishing Manighar to score the narrowest of wins.
The extract from the Steward’s report reads “Rounding the home turn and in the early part of the straight Manighar was disappointed for a clear run between Southern Speed and Mourayan and as a result Manighar was held up for a major part of the straight until gaining clear running approaching the 100 metres.”
Moody was able to transform the dour stayer into the top weight for age performer after taking over the preparation of the then six year old from talented European trainer Luca Cumani after last year’s Spring Carnival.
And Moody has pointed out that Manighar has continued to flourish under the Australian conditions and the premiership winning trainer is excited about his Spring prospects.
“It’s stupid to suggest, but I think he’s better. He’s super,” Moody said.
“He had that ugly, skinny look, but now he looks outstanding.”
Moody produced the imported German galloper to be the star of the Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Carnivals with wins in the $1m Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10, the $400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 24 and the $2.25m The BMW (2400m) on April 7, both at Rosehill.
Manighar finished his Sydney campaign with a second to More Joyous in the Group 1 $500,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 28 before heading to Brisbane for the Winter Carnival picking up a third to Mawingo in the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 19.
The Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday is a dress rehearsal for the Cox Plate with most of the fancied runners getting ready to contest the weight for age championship at Moonee Valley.
Manighar will start the favourite in the Underwood following his very unlucky second in the Makybe Diva when he comes up against top class performers December Draw, Mawingo, Sincero, Southern Spped and the high quality New Zealand four year old Ocean Park.