CAULFIELD’S Manfred Stakes might only be a listed contest over 1200 metres staged early in the autumn. But its list of recent winners includes several three-year-olds who have gone on to take high order among their own generation or become group 1 gallopers.
Names such as Denman, Mosheen, Nicconi, Turffontein, Haradasun and Niconero have won the race since 2005. Whether Peter Moody’s lightly raced gelding Royal Haunt can aspire to such exalted status remains to be seen, but the manner in which the $3.90 chance saw off his seven rivals suggests he has plenty of upside.
The son of Hard Spun made every post a winning one to see off $31 chance Force Command by 4¼ lengths, with the strongly fancied Hosting ($3.60) a half-length third. The favourite Albrecht, who came within a head of winning the group 1 Golden Rose in the spring, was sixth.
Royal Haunt made it three wins from three starts with this victory. He has come a long way in a short time, having only made his racecourse debut on New Year’s Eve at Echuca before following up 17 days later in mid January with a win at Sale. While he could ultimately target a race such as the Australian Guineas, Moody was playing things down.
”He continues to surprise me. He came to us with a bit of a boom unraced and I said to David [owner David Moodie] and the team that he’s only just making into a horse. But he’s continued to develop.
”Linda [Meech] rode him on his first start at Echuca and he struggled to get home there. We suggested the blinkers and he hasn’t looked back – and, touch wood, his barrier manners have held, which was his problem as a young horse.
”He still uses up a bit of nervous energy. He was a fair bit in front of them at the line than he was at the 600. You would think he would run a nice seven furlongs [1400 metres] if not a mile [1600 metres].”
Earlier the Darley camp added to its large list of Blue Diamond contenders when Street Cry filly Metastasio ($1.45 favourite) led all the way in the 1100-metre Chairman’s Stakes.
Ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, Metastasio won by 2¾ lengths despite, as trainer Peter Snowden said, ”doing a few things wrong”. The Moody stable’s Kona Breeze ($9) was second and Shamus Award ($8.50) third.
”She’s very talented. She is doing things we didn’t really expect her to do. She did a few things wrong today, which I was a bit disappointed in, but she won very well,” Snowden said. ”The A grade comes in three or four weeks’ time, and she can’t afford to make a mistake getting round the corner. But she will get a lot of benefit from a look at the track today.”
A $55,000 late fee has to be paid for Metastasio to make the Diamond.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.