John Singleton has never been one to shy away from spruiking his beloved mare More Joyous and he believes tomorrow night’s Manikato Stakes could be her most important race yet.
She has a career record that leaves the vast majority to shame but time and time again she seems to be a somewhat overlooked racehorse, especially in Melbourne where she’s still searching for a truly dominant performance.
The Manikato Stakes gives her that opportunity, especially given she faces three year old sensation Sepoy who himself has earned no shortage of praise.
To put her plight into perspective, back in April More Joyous had won 12 of her last 13 races including at Group 1 level however she didn’t figure in the top 50 in the world thoroughbred rankings.
That’s added to an overall record that shows 14 race victories from just 19 starts with five coming in the top grade.
Were the likes of Black Caviar and So You Think not on the scene you struggle to find a horse that should attract more attention however it never seems to be the case, even the build up to her first up run for the spring has been somewhat understated.
Singleton is confident that will all change tomorrow night though when More Joyous runs into not only Sepoy but the likes of Atomic Force, Buffering, Kulgrinda and Sister Madly.
“What a race,” Singleton said.
“Gai seems to be already conceding defeat, labelling Sepoy the best since Luskin Star, so it doesn’t sound as though my trainer thinks we can win.
“But it’s one of those races you’d die for – Sepoy the sprinter up front, More Joyous the miler on his back.
“There’ll be no excuses.”
Singleton says part fo the reasons some people may not have warmed to More Joyous is the fact that on two occasions she’s been beaten as a huge favourite, first in the Golden Slipper as a two year old and then again earlier this year in the Doncaster Handicap.
“She buck-jumped at 10-1 on in a Silver Slipper, then had to barrier trial and have another race before the Slipper and she just wasn’t More Joyous that day,” he said.
“I wanted to scratch from the Doncaster, but Gai, the vet and the market said she should run. She was never going to win on that (heavy) track.”
If that’s the case it must then raise ea few eyebrows leading into tomorrow night then given the Moonee Valley surface has copped a battering over the last 24 hours.
It’s expected to pull up somewhere in the middle of dead and slow however any more rain could well see it plunge back into the heavy category.
More Joyous is only in for a short campaign this time in as connections do away with Cox Plate pans in favour of keeping her in races only up to the mile.
Her main target will be the Myer Classic mares Group 1 feature on Derby Day.