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N E Manion Cup preview

Aquatics day at Rosehill tomorrow kicks off with the N E Manion Cup, a Group 3 staying contest over 2400m. Returning to the blog to cover this traditional prelude to the Sydney Cup is regular NSW racing contributor, Colleen Goth, @colleengoth.

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N E Manion Cup

Good Evening Punters

I am enjoying the rain falling on the Breadalbane Plain here today but I am hoping the trough that stretches down from Rosehill in Sydney will clear for tomorrow’s racing. The big wet this week means a heavy track for Rosehill Guineas day but the card should bring us some great racing nevertheless.

I would like to get punters off to a good start in the first race, the Ambassador Travel N E Manion Cup for the stayers over 2400m. There are only seven horses still in the field following the scratching of Vaquera and I find them a fairly evenly matched bunch of stayers. They have raced each other previously and are seasoned and fit. Race tactics will play an important part in the outcome – and all the jockeys know their craft well.

But my top pick is Desert Jeuney. He is fit, hard and ready to win. He does have some opposition though:

1. Permit. This 7 year old imported gelding by leading European stallion Dansilli has solid credentials for this race. Forget his last start on 1 March when he pulled up last but also lame. He will be sound tomorrow – he would not be started by Chris Waller if he wasn’t - and he won this race last year – along with the Chairman’s Handicap that followed in April. He has the services of Hugh Bowman which is a plus but the big negative I see is that he has to lug the top weight of 58 kg. For that reason he does not figure in my top three.

2. Junoob. The stable mate to Permit produced an impressive run to win at Randwick on 15 March and had previously run and won at Rosehill. He shows great determination in his runs and he is tough - and the one to beat. Has a great young gun jockey in James McDonald.

3. Opinion. The third of the Waller runners trying to make it a Waller trifecta. Has a great mature gun jockey in Jimmy Cassidy and in my opinion no one rides Rosehill as well as the Pumper! This Opinion has a classic pedigree, being by Oasis Dream out of a Sadler’s Wells mare. He is raced by the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing operation in Australia and is bred to make light of the heavy going. He was second to stablemate Junoob at Randwick on 15 March and won the Parramatta Cup at Rosehill over 1900m back on 1 March. I expect him to be in the first four across the line.

4. Gondokoro. This mare loves wet tracks – the wetter the better – and she was good enough to win the Queensland Oaks. She has a classic Australasian staying pedigree as her sire is the legendary Zabeel and her dam is by the Arc winner Carnegie who appears in the pedigrees of many top tough stayers in this country. I was lucky enough to see Carnegie at the end of his stallion career and my lasting impression was of his tremendously strong hind quarters! He passes this strength onto his stock and with 54.5 kg I would expect this mare to be very competitive. Trainer Pat Carey knows how to prepare a stayer and whilst she was a tad disappointing last start, I am expecting to see improvement tomorrow.

5. Tremec. Another Zabeel, this five year old gelding also enjoys 54.5 kg in weight. He will handle the heavy track on pedigree and past form but he is not racing as well this year as previously. A good horse but I think he will find this field quite daunting.

6. The Offer. This well bred gelding is getting better with his two runs since resuming in March. He has the right pedigree for the distance and the expected going – being by Montjeu out of a Darshaan mare and trainer Gai Waterhouse will have him primed to win. He has the in-form and indomitable Tommy Berry on board and so it is little wonder that he is right up at the top of the market. I would expect him to place and would not be surprised if he won. But he is not my top pick.

7. Desert Jeuney. My top pick is this Desert King gelding out of a Jeune mare. It’s a Melbourne Cup pedigree and I have noticed how runners out of Jeune mares seem to find something extra on very heavy tracks. This is a horse on the up, steadily improving under the well-tuned guidance of Nigel Blackiston. I confess to following this four year old gelding from the beginning of his career and may therefore be biased in my selection of him as the winner in a tough contest tomorrow. But I see how he is improving with each run and the backup from a gallant third last week over 1900m suggests that he is hard fit and ready to give his best. He is nice odds too.

Selections:

Desert Jeuney
Junoob
The Offer
Opinion

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