First Group 1 runner for Manhattan Rain

Leading Melbourne trainer Mick Price will saddle up the first Group 1 runner for young Arrowfield sire Manhattan Rain, when Moonovermanhattan takes his place in Saturday’s $1 million Caulfield Guineas.

The strapping grey colt began his career last May with a Group 3 victory in Adelaide, his only juvenile appearance. He returned at the end of August for an unplaced season debut at Caulfield, and was then fourth in the VRC Living Legends S. LR before an eye-catching runner-up finish behind Almalad in the MVRC Bill Stutt S. G2 on 26 September.

Price finds it difficult to see the favourite Rich Enuff beaten, but says, “We front up with a nice, fit, sound horse and if he can run in the first three we’ll be happy with that.”

The colt’s programme beyond the Guineas is not fixed, and his trainer is cautious about sending any 3YO over 2500 metres at Flemington so early in the season.

However, Moonovermanhattan remains in the frame for the VRC Derby G1 on 1 November and Price says, “He looks like a Derby horse.” The stable has also kept him among the entries for the Cox Plate, sensationally won last year by Snitzel’s 3YO son Shamus Award.

Price has a firmer view of the programme for his other Manhattan Rain colt, Manhattan Avenue (ex Tizzy May by Danzero), a gallant runner-up in last Saturday’s VRC Yellowglen Vintage S. LR.

“He’s pretty promising, but he’s a big-framed horse who’s yet to fill out. I’ve taken a gentle approach with him, and he’s holding his condition so goes to the Gothic Stakes next Saturday, but not to the Derby.”

Moonovermanhattan was bred by Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones from Lunaspur, a 2YO stakes-winning daughter of Flying Spur and Lunaliona from Jean-Luc Lagadere’s famous family of Group 1 winner Luna Wells, Champion French 2YO Long Mick and their half-brother, Champion French Sire Linamix. 

Moonovermanhattan was a $100,000 purchase from Arrowfield 2013 Inglis Easter Sale draft by Irish bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington for owners Peter Anastasiou, Ken Biddick and Craig Mathieson.

Lunaspur is also the dam of Group 2 winner Colorado Claire, stakes-placed 2YO Moonlight Hussey and a yearling colt by More Than Ready. She is due to foal this month to Charge Forward and is booked to Dundeel.

Manhattan Rain, himself third in Starspangledbanner’s 2009 Caulfield Guineas, has been represented by nine first-crop winners so far, three of them successful at two.

His five stakes performers are headed by Moonovermanhatan and the Arrowfield-bred filly Crafty, who last Saturday added a third placing in the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 to her record. From a Sadler’s Wells mare, Crafty appears well suited to both the distance and the course of the VRC Oaks G1.

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