Charging home to secure an impressive victory in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last weekend, trainer Mick Price is confident of a successful transition for classy three-year-old Moonovermanhattan into this weekend’s featured Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.
Jumping from the gates well, Moonovermanhattan settled in prime position on the heels of the Moonee Valley Vase’s early leaders, receiving an ideal run in transit before displaying a superior turn of foot in the final straight to finish two lengths in the clear of closest rival Atmosphere.
Understandably pleased with the Manhattan Rain colt’s performance for victory on Saturday, Price said he is confident the running distance and requirements of the 2014 Victoria Derby will play directly into the strengths of Moonovermanhattan this weekend.
“I was quite rapt, I thought it was a strong win, he had no cover. This race is usually the best Derby guide,” Price said after the Moonee Valley Vase.
“It’s the burning question, but I can say he’s a big, cool, relaxed horse who does well in the stable.
“He’s lovely and sound, he’s got a perfect temperament, he’s got the blinkers on to just put him there. If this race holds true and he gets to 2500 he can win.
“I think he will relax, if you put him in the Derby with cover, he will get behind a horse and go to sleep. He’s just got to get the 2500.”
Jockey Craig Newitt was thrilled with the feel Moonovermanhattan gave in his maiden appearance over 2000m last weekend and is also confident he will have no issue finding the 2500m of the Victoria Derby.
“He’s a nice horse, we have always said all along he’s our main Derby horse. The more racing he has the better he seems to be getting,” Newitt said.
“I really don’t think the 2500 will be a worry. He’s one of the very few horses who will have a turn of foot.”
Securing two wins and one minor place from his six competitive starts so far, Moonovermanhattan has steadily built to the task over five appearances this time in; beating just one runner home in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) first-up before placing fourth in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m), second in the Group 2 Bill Stutt Stakes (1600m) and a credible seventh in the featured Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in the lead-up to the Moonee Valley Vase.
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