Gifted Snitzel 3-year-old colt Menari (by Snitzel) established himself as the horse to beat in the upcoming Group 1 Golden Rose with an emphatic victory in the $200,000 Group 2, ATC Run to the Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Menari and Josh Parr, picture Sportpix.com.au
Sent to post a well-backed $2.30 favourite, Menari overcame the handicap of the outside barrier in a field of nine by bounding from the gate to take the box seat soon after settling in to the contest.
Subsequently positioned a length and a half off the leader until the home straight, Menari quickly seized control of the contest when asked for a winning effort and never appeared to be at any risk of being caught.
Completely dominant from start to finish, Menari stamped himself as an outstanding prospect with his command performance. So much so that winning trainer Gerald Ryan was quickly comparing him to some of the finest gallopers he has ever handled immediately after the win.
As Ryan reflected: “I thought I was lucky enough to have a horse like Snitzel, who I thought was a very good horse. Probably the best horse I had since Snitzel was Snitzerland, then along came Rubick… But this horse in the autumn, what he showed us before he raced. I thought ‘this is a fair dinkum, genuine horse’.
“He’ll go to 1400m [for the Golden Rose]. Group 1. Million dollar race for three-year-olds on your home track, why wouldn’t you?
“He’ll improve in fitness. I wouldn’t say length-wise, because I can’t sum up how far they can improve, but I know the horse has improvement in him. He was four weeks between runs, he hasn’t had a trial, we’ve just been ticking him over.
“He’s a good horse. The way he worked last Friday morning, I reckon there’s only been two other horses I’ve clocked sectionals as quick as him, and that’s been Chautauqua and All Too Hard when they were flying. He burnt the track last Friday.”
Winning jockey Josh Parr, who posted his third winning ride of the day in the Run for the Rose, is also an unabashed fan of the brilliant colt.
“Look at the size of the horse,” commented Parr. “It is just phenomenal to ride an animal like this. His turn of foot is second to none.
“I banged him up outside of the leader, simply because of the draw. I had to make a decision. I couldn’t come out half-hearted and linger around at the risk of being posted wide, so I decided to go forward.
“I think his ability will take him a hell of a long way with the 1400m [of the Golden Rose], however there are a few little things in his game which says to me he’s a 1200m horse. But don’t write him off in the Golden Rose just yet.”
Menari and Parr are clear of Pariah and Perast, picture Stevehart.com.au
Second favourite Pariah (by Redoute’s Choice) battled on gamely for a good second behind Menari.
Given another beautiful ride by Blake Shinn, the duo camped on the heels of the winner racing into the final 700 metres of the contest and appeared likely to prove the only genuine challenger of the race. However, Pariah was never able to get on terms with Menari at any stage over the closing stages, being fairly and squarely outpointed on the day.
Perast (by Snitzel) turned in mightily game effort to claim third after making the running and settling a strong pace. Though he had no answer for the winning effort of Menari, or that of the runner-up Pariah, he stayed on well enough to finish marginally ahead of Kementari in fourth, Shogun Sun in fifth and Chauffeur in sixth.
The performance of Shogun Sun was not without considerable merit. The Queensland-based galloper was seen doing as well as, if not better, than some highly rated 3-year-olds over the final stages and completely justified his presence in Sydney.
Menari was returned the $2.30 favourite, with Pariah starting as the $3.80 second favourite, and Perast as a $101.00 outsider.
The official margins of the contest were one and a half lengths by one and a half lengths, Menari competing the distance in a time of 1m08.59s (last 600m in 33.71s).
Menari is raced by his breeder George Altomonte of Corumbene Stud P/L, as well as Ms L N Smith & G Severino. After just seven starts, the gifted son of Snitzel is already the winner of over $520,000 in prizemoney from three valuable wins and one second.
Menari, picture Sportpix.com.au
What the beaten jockeys said:
Hugh Bowman (Invader): “Just a bit too fast for him, the pace was too strong and he’ll be more suited when gets over a little bit further.”
Corey Brown (Diamond Tathagata): “Little bit firm for my bloke today.”
Tye Angland (Tangled): “He needed that today, he travelled well but when they let down they were a bit strong for him.”
Blake Shinn (Pariah): “He ran really well, had a lovely run behind the winner. Travelled beautifully, just maybe the weight swing, Menari had 1kg difference, in saying that full credit to the winner he was too good on the day, but level weights at 1400m in the Golden Rose, it’s going to be an exciting race.”
Brenton Avdulla (Chauffeur): “Happy with him, bit brighter today raced a bit more freshly, it’s just a track where it’s hard to run down the leaders, but I’m happy with him going to 1400m.”
Christian Reith (Shogun Sun): “Really good run, he was just a little bit slow into stride today. Probably cost him a few lengths, but I thought he was really strong late. Really nice horse, just needs to do a bit of maturing. If they can get him in I wouldn’t be afraid of running him in the Rose.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Kementari): “I was just guided by how he jumped and had a decision to make as to whether I went forward or came back and get some cover. Chose the latter and then we were just sort of back and out of the race. Couldn’t have done much more, no doubt he’s going to be suited by 1400m and further. It was a pleasing first up run.”
Adam Hyeronimus (Perast): “Respectable run he went well, probably just had to a little bit too much work early and that told in the finish. He’s run a very good race, if I had my time again I would still drive him out, he’s a cheeky bugger but he’s taking the right steps.”
The Run To The Rose, photo finish picture ATC