Manolo Blahniq has picked a good time to finally return to his form as a younger horse with a number of big races looming for the five-year-old after recording his first Flemington win on Saturday when taking the $140,000, listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m).
Dwayne Dunn guides Manolo Blahnig, picture Quentinjlang.com
The $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 16 tops the list of Tony Noonan’s wish list with the trainer appealing to the wearers of Manolo Blahniq shoes to vote with their fingers and lodge a vote for the horse when polling opens on Wednesday.
‘’He’s a consistent horse and I think he’s just at the right place at the right time,’’ Noonan said.
‘’He’ll go to stakes race in a fortnight time and then we’ll go to a mile a fortnight after that and then, if we get enough votes, for all the girls that like shoes, he’s the horse to vote for (in the All-Star Mile).’’
Starting at $5.50 after opening at $4.60, Manolo Blahniq raced wide for Dwayne Dunn but finished powerfully to win by three quarters of a length over Holbien ($5.50) with a short half head to Takedown ($14) in third place.
Noonan said he felt the horse, who was a smart juvenile in New Zealand, was well placed to take his performance to a new level this campaign.
‘’He’s been going well for a while but he’s just now getting to a stage where he is stronger and more confident,’’ he said.
‘’It was a lovely ride. We didn’t have a lot of luck but that’s where good riders and experienced riders like Dwayne just nursed and nursed and looked after well him enough to get him over the line.
‘’He was a colt for a while and he struggled with that. He used to race keenly and race a lot on nervous energy but now he’s lovely and relaxed.’’
Manolo Blahniq, picture Quentinjlang.com