Manikato Stakes 2023
Distance: 1200m | Conditions: WFA | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Good 4
The Cox Plate is the main course this weekend but we get a great entree in the Manikato Stakes on Saturday. Kiwi star Imperatriz skipped The Everest and looks to have scared off some potential competitors, as we have just the seven strong field. She’s the class horse, can she be beaten?
They’ll be roaring early as always in these sprint races at the Valley. Jigsaw and I Am Me will be fast from the outside while Uncommon James can sit box seat. If I Am War kicks up, Imperatriz could find herself three pairs back which won’t be an issue. The field should be tailed off by Buenos Noches and The Inferno.
1: The Inferno (3)
Pass mark first-up in the Moir where he closed off relatively well despite never looking a chance. Will appreciate the rise in distance and the strong tempo again but can’t see him making too much of an impact.
2: Buenos Noches (5)
Had plenty of backers in The Everest but was safely held in the end. Still, Everest form holds up as the best sprinting form in the country and he’s well placed to finish in the money here. Watch for a big finish.
3: Uncommon James (2)
The Oakleigh Plate winner ran third in the Moir first-up before going forward with Asfoora in the Schillaci where he was quickly dropped as they turned up the heat. He’s yet to produce an eye-catching display this prep and certainly hasn’t produced anything that would worry Imperatriz.
4: Jigsaw (7)
Outsprinted in the Gilgai first-up. Generally improves second-up and loves racing at the Valley. Good horse on his day but isn’t up to this.
5: I Am War (1)
Started at $26 last start and was narrowly beaten by a capable horse. Appears to have come back well but this has far too much depth. Will win a race but not this.
6: Imperatriz (4)
Absolute superstar. The Kiwi mare is plotting for her seventh Group 1 on Saturday and her fourth straight win at the Valley where she has slaughtered her opponents on every occasion. It was decided she would skip The Everest (where you imagine she would’ve been highly competitive) to tackle the Victorian Group 1’s and only a massively subpar performance should cost her that. Up in trip suits, barrier is perfect and tempo should be on. She’ll have a target on her back but she remains as close to a moral as you’d find.
7: I Am Me (6)
Super effort winning the Sydney Stakes last start where she sat on speed, absorbed the pressure and staved them off. Has the racing pattern to be really competitive here and no reason she can’t figure in the finish.
She picks herself. Imperatriz just wins.
If you want to be a bit more creative, a Same Race Multi may be the play:
Top Four: I Am Me, Buenos Noches
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