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Manikato Stakes

The Manikato Stakes is being run at Moonee Valley Racecourse on Friday October 21st. This is a Group 1 weight for age race for all horses over 1,200 metres and carries total prize money of $1,000,000.

Originally known as the Freeway Stakes, it was first run in 1968, but had its name changed in honour of the great racehorse Manikato in 1984. Manikato won the Freeway Stakes twice, and also won the William Reid Stakes held at the same track, on five occasions.

The Manikato Stakes is a good lead up for the Cox Plate, and is a strong indicator of horse form for the remainder of the Spring Carnival. The race has been part of the Breeders Cup Challenge since 2009, and the winner each year is automatically qualified for the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint later on in the year.

Manikato Betting

This is a great race in which to bet on mares. In the last 14 years, no less than seven of the races have been won by mares: Sunline in 2000, Piavonic (2001), Spinning Hill (2002 and 2003), Miss Andretti (2006) Gold Edition (2007), and Sea Siren (2012).

It is also a good race for favourites, five of them having won the race in the last ten years. However, three favourites have failed to place over the same period.

Lead up races

An obvious lead up race to the Manikato Stakes is the Group 3 McEwan Stakes which is run at Moonee Valley two weeks previously. Three winners of the Manikato Stakes in the last ten years featured in the McEwan Stakes, and two of them, Miss Andretti (2006) and Hay List (2008), achieved the double.

As the race is now held the night before the Cox Plate, two other good lead up races will be the Group 1 AJ Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley and the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield.

Another interesting statistic is that over the past 12 years four of the winners won first up from a spell. These were Sea Siren, Danleigh, and Spinning Hill who managed it twice.

The top jockeys since 1983 have been P. Payne with two wins from eight starts, while D. Oliver also has two wins, but from 16 starts. Top trainer is D. L. Freedman who has three wins from 17 starts.

Barrier Draw

The barriers also have a certain significance in the Manikato Stakes, as over the last 12 years, seven winners have started from barrier 6 or better. However, when you look at the last 30 years, 12 winners have come from barrier 10 or wider. Over the same time span, no winner has come out of barriers two, three, and nine.

In 2010 and 2011 there were only eight runners, and both races were won by strongly fancied favourites, Hay List, and Sepoy.

Manikato was a much loved horse of the 1980’s and had no less than 29 wins and 13 places from just 49 starts during his career. He died in 1984 after an illness and is now buried at Moonee Valley, the scene of many of his greatest triumphs.