Trevor Lawson’s Manikato Stakes preview

Our Melbourne analyst Trevor Lawson gives a full preview of Friday night's Group 1 Manikato Stakes.

Moonee Valley Race 7 (Friday night): 

William Hill Manikato Stakes Group 1 WFA $1m

The lay of the land

This is the big unknown and makes it hard to know what will happen on Friday night (and even harder for Saturday!).  A fair bit of rain is predicted for Friday so I doubt they’ll water the track before then, which means it’ll be firm if and when the showers come.

With the rail in the true, the inside will be off if it’s wet.

The speed story

The Buff will lead, and Holler will come across as well and won’t be too far off him.  From there the insiders will squeeze up: Fell Swoop and Capitalist, followed by Rebel Dane and Chautauqua.

Chautauqua is drawn a little awkwardly, so it’s not completely clear what Dunn will do – I have him there, in the third pair back.

In the mix

Chautauqua (Hawkes / Dunn) is clearly the horse to beat here.  But the draw’s not perfect and there’s the unknowns with how the track will be, so he’s not exactly a sure thing.

There’s plenty of other quality here, Capitalist (Snowden / McEvoy) is the Golden Slipper winner and will be fit here.  I think he’ll go well third-up and is right in this.  Likewise Fell Swoop (Dale / Bowman), who is a really honest horse and has Hughie.  He can’t be discounted.

English (Waterhouse & Bott / Clipperton) also looks set for this and will run well at this stage of her preparation.

Holler (O’Shea / McDonald) is the interesting one.  He goes well at the Valley which makes me like him here, however he’s just back from the UK and hasn’t even had a trial or a jump-out.  That makes it hard to know where he’s at, but I think it’s a negative.

Under The Louvre (Smerdon / Parnham) is going reasonably but I think will want a longer trip than this.

And old mate Buffering (Heathcote / Browne)… I thought he was good last start and had no luck, but he’s probably getting a bit old for this level.  He’ll need a lot to go his way.

Put a line through…

I have The Quarterback (Griffiths / Allen) settling last, and he won’t come from there and get past this field.

Lucky Hussler (Weir / Rawiller) is a 1400 – 1600 metre horse, whilst Japonisme (Waller / Schofield) is simply going horribly at the moment.  Having Glyn on his back is the sole positive, as he seems to ride him well.

Rebel Dane (Portelli / Melham) just doesn’t win races, and that’s not going to change here.

Trev’s Tip

The track is the big unknown here, but having rated them anyway I have Chautauqua on top, and he’s obviously the horse to beat.  He’d want to get out a little more in the market before I’d have something on him however.


Holler is capable, it’s just a bit of an unknown regarding where he’s at.  If he’s in reasonable shape, he’s over the odds at the moment.

Trevor Lawson is a full-time professional punter with a highly successful record over the past fifteen years. Our Melbourne Ratings package gives you access to his assessed prices, speed map comments and betting strategies for all metro Melbourne meetings.