Moonovermanhattan is taking winning form into the 2014 Victoria Derby, but trainer Mick Price admits that there is a question mark over the ability of the Manhattan Rain colt to run out a strong 2500 metres.
Moonovermanhattan was far from disgraced in the first four starts of his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, highlighted by a second place finish behind Almalad in the Group 2 Stutt Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26, but he was able to breakthrough for the second win of his career in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last Saturday.
Jockey Craig Newitt elected to push forward on Moonovermanhattan and sit just outside the leader in the early stages of the Moonee Valley Vase, but Price revealed that Newitt would not be repeating those tactics in the Victoria Derby and he is hoping that the three-year-old can find some cover in the first 1400 metres to give him the best possible chance of running out a strong 2500 metres.
“The question will be whether he gets 2500,” Price said.
“I am hoping that there will be four or five horses in that clump of speed drawn the outside gates in the Derby that go forward because the first 1400 metres tempo of the Vase I thought was a bit solid and it certainly wasn’t the tempo you want to see in a VRC Derby.
“I certainly don’t want to see Moonovermanhattan outside the speed going like that and I would like to see him covered up, with horses in front of him and he can appear at the right time to give him his chance to run 2500.
“The horse is going well, he has had a good week and he has pulled up really well.”
Moonovermanhattan made his racing debut with a narrow win in the Group 3 National Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on May 10 before he returned to racing with a lackluster performance in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 30.
The three-year-old produced an improved performance in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13, finished an unlucky second in the Stutt Stakes and was far from disgraced in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 11.
Moonovermanhattan is currently available at 2014 Victoria Derby odds of $9, while Hampton Court remains a clear favourite at a quote of $2.60.