Trainer James Cummings is looking for a strong performance from a new look Veranillo when he takes on a solid field of three year olds in the Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Veranillo showed plenty of promise as an early two year old with wins at his first two starts but the Medaglio D’Oro youngster’s form tapered off towards the end of the juvrnile season.
A spell and a gelding operation has seen Vernaillo return for this preparation with a first up second in a 1000m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Ballarat on January 16 and Cummings is expecting further improvement in the Manfred Stakes with that run under his belt.
“That was his first run since being gelded and it was good to see him attack the line with more vigour,” Godolphin’s head trainer said.
“Some of the others will be better suited in longer races and others are first-up, so I’m hoping to see a good, strong performance.”
Craig Williams takes the ride on Veranillo who has barrier eight in the Manfred Stakes field that has been reduced to ten runners with the early scratchings of Kentucky Breeze and Prezado.
Veranillo has had some early support in the betting for the Manfred Stakes and has firmed in from $16 to $12 at Ladbrokes.com.au on Thursday afternoon.
The Mitchell Freedman trained Bravo Tango heads the betting at $3 and is coming off a first up third behind Nature Strip and Prezado in the $250,000 Inglis Dash (1100m) for the three year olds at Flemington on January 20.
On the second line of betting is I Did It Again at $3.90 and the Greg Eurell trained three year old will be having his first run back in Manfred Stakes since finishing ninth of nine in the Group 3 $350,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in October last year.
Brave Tango has drawn barrier six with Golden Slipper winning jockey Ben Melham to ride while I Did It Again will jump from gate nine with Damien Oliver in the saddle.