Manhattan Rain colt wins Moonee Valley Vase

Manhattan Rain has four talented 3YOs knocking on the door of Melbourne Spring Carnival success and the door opened on Saturday for Arrowfield graduate Moonovermanhattan who scored a convincing victory in Saturday’s $200,000 MVRC Moonee Valley Vase 2040m G2.

Fresh from a stunning Group 1 victory on Friday evening with champion sprinter Lankan Rupee, trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt combined again to produce Moonovermanhattan, already a Group 3 winner at two and second in the MVRC Bill Stutt S. G2 on 26 September.

Newitt sent the powerfully built grey colt forward from Gate 11 and he settled beautifully in second spot, behind Zululand. He swept to the lead around the turn and galloped home strongly to win by 1.75 lengths from Atmosphere and Go Indy Go.

It was a performance that confirmed Moonovermanhattan’s readiness for next Saturday’s $1.5 million VRC Victoria Derby G1 over Flemington’s testing 2500-metre course.

Mick Price said after the race, “He’s a good looking horse. He stands over a bit of ground. He’s a big clean-winded colt with a lovely temperament. He’s very sound and he’s had a good two weeks.

“I think this is the race that is usually a good form race for the Victoria Derby. I know they’ve got the Caulfield Classic there now, but I’m just really looking forward to it (the Derby).

“We know he’ll relax, and if I can put him into a Derby with cover, get him behind a horse and put him to sleep, he’s got a lot going for him, but he just needs to get the 2500 (metres of the Derby).”

Moonovermanhattan was bred by Arrowfield, John Leaver & Alan Jones out of 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 delivered a Charge Forward colt the day before the Moonee Valley Vase and is booked to Arrowfield’s new sire, six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel.

Manhattan Rain will be represented in the VRC Oaks G1 by Arrowfield graduate Crafty, also a 2YO stakeswinner, and placed this season in both the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 and MRC Caulfield Classic G3 for trainer Robert Smerdon.

Moonovermanhattan’s stablemate Manhattan Avenue has also stepped up this Spring to post two game second placings in Listed company at Flemington and Caulfield.

The Ciaron Maher-trained Light Up Manhattan is also Derby-bound, following solid fourth-place finishes in the VRC UCI Super Impose S. LR and the Caulfield Classic G3.

Current TAB fixed odds betting for the Victoria Derby has Spring Champion S. G1 winner Hampton Court (by Redoute’s Choice) as the $3.10 favourite, with Moonovermanhattan at $6, Bachman (by All American) at $9 and Light Up Manhattan at $17.

Crafty holds favouritism for the VRC Oaks at $3.50, ahead of Lumosty ($3) and Go Indy Go ($3.50).

Manhattan Rain, sire of 12 winners and five stakes performers from his first crop, is second on the Australian Second Season Sires’ list with prizemoney of close to $600,000.

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