Early favourite Kementari has drawn a horror barrier for the 2018 Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on Friday night.
The James Cummings trained Kementari will wear the blinkers for the first time in the Manikato Stakes but is in danger of losing his spot at the top of the market order after second pick Sunlight drew perfectly at gate three in the fourteen horse field.
Ladbrokes.com.au have installed Kementari as the $4.40 favourite but the Tony McEvoy trained Sunlight is well in contention at $4.60.
On the third line of betting at $7.50 in the flying Gold Coast trained mare Houtzen who will be able to use her brilliant gate speed to take advantage of her barrier four with Ryan Maloney in the saddle.
Glyn Schofield has ridden Kementari in three of his last four race starts and will have to be at his best if he is to give the Lonhro stallion every chance from barrier twelve in the fourteen horse field.
Cummings has freshened up Kementari since his last start fourth for Craig Williams in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 15.
“We’re happy with how he looks, his body-language is excellent. He is a horse who can be competitive anywhere over 1200m at WFA, “Cummings said.
“We’ve experimented with blinkers and we’ll be aiming towards the Manikato.”
Schofield was aboard Kementari when he resumed for his 2018 Spring Carnival Campaign with a first up second to Pierata in the Group 2 $200,000 Mostyn Copper Group Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 4 following by a fourth to Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 18.
Schofield and Kementrai then missed out on a Group 1 win by a nose when runner up to Humidor in the $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1.
Champion Irish trained Aidan O’Brien will saddle up four runners in the weight for age Manikato Stakes, Spirit Of Valor (Oisin Murphy, barrier 14), Intellegence Cross (Emmet McNamara, barrier 5), U S Navy Flag (Ryan Moore, barrier 2) and Fleet Review (Kerrin McEvoy, barrier 11).
U S Navy Flag looks the pick of the O’Brien runners at $9.50 and Ryan Moore will be wanting to use the four year old’s good gate speed to take advantage of the good barrier and is not hoping for a repeat of last start when the front runner missed the start before finishing ninth to Redzel in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 13.
Victoria’s leading trained Darren Weir will be represented with two runners, Brave Smash drawing barrier nine with Hugh Bowman in the saddle again and Voodoo Lad drawing next to him at eight for Mark Zahra,
Brave Smash never threatened when eighth in The Everest while Voodoo Lad made up some ground from the back when fourth to Ball Of Muscle in the Group 2 $400,000 Keno Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on October 13.