Young Sydney jockey Tommy Berry has won the battle to gain the ride on Manawanui at Warwick Farm on Saturday week.
Regular rider Glyn Schofield was put in a hard situation when trainer Ron Leemon decided to bypass this Saturday’s Group 2 TAB Sportsbet Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill and keep Manawanui for next week’s Group 2 $175,000 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m).
Schofield then had to choose between Manawanui and top sprinter Hay List who is scheduled to return to the racetrack on the same day in the Group 1 $750,000 Coolmore Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington.
Leemon had opted to keep Manawanui another week before kicking off his Autumn campaign because the three year old missed a couple of vital gallops due to the wet weather that swept through Sydney over the past few weeks.
Also with the Expressway looking to be loaded with classy Group 1 winners, Leemon has decided to start his stable star against his own age in the Royal Sovereign.
“This appears to be a very, very strong Expressway this year. With horses like Rain Affair in the field, they will run along at a genuine tempo, so it will be a test,” Leemon said.
As well as speedster Rain Affair in the race, Chris Waller’s trio of Rangirangdoo, Shoot Out and Danleigh will also be resuming. Other Group 1 winners to line up are Sacred Choice and Snipper’s Bullet.
Schofield partnered Manawanui in his Rosehill barrier trial yesterday in which he was an easy winner over 1030m and Leemon is certain he has made the right decision to wait an extra week as the three year old pulled up a bit big after the trial.
“He definitely needed that trial,” Leemon said. “He has had a good blow afterwards.”
The Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill two weeks later will be the geldings next outing and Schofield is likely to be back aboard.
Berry, who is riding Karuta Queen in the Group 3 $125,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday, is no stranger to Manawanui having won on the gelding back in May last year in a 1100m Canterbury two year old Handicap.
Leemon’s decision to run in the Royal Sovereign next week has set up a clash with Peter Moody’s promising three year old Moment Of Change and Gerald Ryan’s speedster Hot Snitzel.
Moment Of Change and Hot Snitzel both stepped at yesterday’s Rosehill barrier trials with Moody’s charge narrowly beating Hot Snitzel over 900m.