THE PUNTING MONOLOGUE - THE STRADBROKE LISTEN

Manikato Stakes Preview

It’s Cox Plate weekend, and the features kick off with the Manikato Stakes under the famous Moonee Valley floodlights. A group 1 contest over 1200 metres won in the past by some very famous names. It’s a big start to the most famous 24-hour period in racing so let’s hope we can kick it off with a winner!

Paulele is the on top hope here with James Cummings and James McDonald looking to kick off their Cox Plate weekend in style. He showed his class last week when winning the Schilachi Stakes at Caulfield and believe he can improve yet again here. Barrier six looks perfect find a nice spot off the rails and just behind the speed of which there’s plenty of and won’t be relying on needle eye gaps like last time. Has won at The Valley in the past and rising in distance is another major benefit. Has come close in group one’s in the past and I think this race sets up super for him here.

September Run is a group 1 winner at the Valley over this trip and could be primed for a better second-up run. Has had a soft jumpout at Flemington since that forget run in the Moir and should be nice and fresh coming into this. Will find a nice spot with plenty of speed and if can get off the rails will be savaging the line late. Each way chance at long odds.

Rothfire was good enough last start after his massive first-up win in the McEwen. Will find the box seat from barrier 5 and should get an easier run into the straight. Back up to 1200m where he has won twice and placed once from six starts and should appreciate the rise in trip. Has run well third up in the past and will be nice and fresh for this contest here. Genuine chance to upset the favourite.

Bella Nipotina was sensational behind Coolangatta in the Moir last start and is a genuine group one horse who’s deserving of a feature win. Loves Moonee Valley and has never missed the placings at this track and distance. Third up form is very good and is a classy mare. Genuine each way chance and winning hope.

Coolangatta is in red-hot form after winning the Moir stakes here last start. Has had a nice jumpout since defeating Bella Nipotina at Cranbourne. Barrier 1 is very handy with a lot of speed on and if can get off the rails and get a run through will be very competitive, needs a few things to go right but will have every possible with the in-form Jamie Kah onboard. Genuine winning chance if things go right but prefer the place.

Eleven Eleven on paper first up looks very average but has been close enough and unlucky in some of those runs. Has been good over the 6 furlongs in the past winning twice and placing on another two occasions. Won a nice trial in Sydney before making the trip down south and I think is capable of running into the placings at odds.

I have Paulele on top here I think he will bounce out of that run last week and prove really hard to beat here. Bella Nipotina looks likely to be the bridesmaid yet again here but should get every possible chance to upset the favourite. September Run in for third and Rothfire in for fourth with Eleven Eleven and Coolangatta the other main dangers.

Punt on this race here

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