Manhattan Rain colts ready for the Victoria Derby

Only one of Australia’s Second Season Sires is represented in Saturday’s $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby G1 and he has not one, but two runners.

That’s Manhattan Rain, sire of Moonovermanhattan who will jump from gate 12 in the 2500-metre Classic, and Light Up Manhattan, drawn seven.

Their trainers are pleased with the progress of both colts going into the Derby, with last-start Moonee Valley Vase G2 winner Moonovermanhattan paying $9 on the TAB, and Light Up Manhattan, fourth in the Caulfield Classic G3, on $21.

Moonovermanhattan’s trainer Mick Price says, “It was good to see him finish off so well over 2000 metres. He’s come through it very well and I’m very happy with him.

“He will spell after Saturday and if he gets the distance, we’ll aim at the Australian Derby with him in the Autumn.”

Price also prepares another son of Manhattan Rain, the gelding Manhattan Avenue who lines up on Derby Day in the $200,000 Carbine Club S. G3 over 1600 metres, after two runner-up finishes in Listed company at Flemington and Caulfield.

Price says, “They’re both good types, with strong bone, good size and substance and great front legs on them. The big track at Flemington will suit them.

“We selected them both on our yearling short list, bought Manhattan Avenue ourselves, and would have purchased Moonovermanhattan but we had a client on the horse buy it for us.

“They’re both quite easy to train. Manhattan Avenue has been a little immature and nervous, but we’ve done dressage work with him and he’s coping really well.

“Moonovermanhattan is a dude, he’s bombproof and so relaxed.”

Price has trained a Victoria Derby runner-up, as well as third, fourth, fifth and sixth placegetters, but is yet to win the race.

Moonovermanhattan (ex Lunaspur by Flying Spur) was bred by Arrowfield Stud, John Leaver & Alan Jones and bought for $100,000 from the Arrowfield draft at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale by bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington, acting for owners Peter Anastasiou, Ken Biddick and Craig Mathieson.

Light Up Manhattan is the first Derby runner for Ciaron Maher who expresses strong confidence in the colt’s ability to stay the distance.

“He’s a real genuine stayer and we’ve been focussed on one race. We’ve slowly screwed him down, put shades on him and he’s really come on in his work. He’s ready to go out to 2500 metres on a big track.

“He’s quite tough, but has a beautiful temperament and he’s lovely round the stable, not a whimper out of him.

“We bought him after he was stakes-placed at two, solely for this race, and he’s coming together nicely. His two-year-old preparation makes it a lot easier.

“Mark Zahra rode him on Tuesday and said he’s really come on. He worked strongly through the line over about a mile.

“He’s a very strong, imposing type, with short cannons, a strong neck and a big stallion’s head.”

Light Up Manhattan (ex Luminata by Zabeel) was bred by Andrew Taylor’s GT Thoroughbreds and purchased for $36,000 by Caulfield trainer Peter Clarke from the Supreme Thoroughbreds draft at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

He was re-sold privately after his three-start juvenile campaign and is now raced by Colin McKenna, Frank Caldwell, Trevor Cole-Sinclair, Damian, Travis & Daryl Degenhardt, Jason Disney, Terry Ginnane, Geoff Handbury, Paul Hopgood, Andy Makiv, Michael Stewart, the Insight Syndicate, Craig Thomas & Adrian Willoughby.

Manhattan Rain’s prospects of Flemington Classic success don’t end with the Derby. His daughter, the Arrowfield-bred filly Crafty (ex Spirited Dancer by Sadler’s Wells) is the current TAB favourite for next Thursday’s $1 million Crown Oaks G1. 

Crafty won the VRC Taj Rossi Series Final LR over 1600 metres as a late 2YO and goes into the Oaks after two excellent placings in the VRC Edward Manifold S. G2 and MRC Caulfield Classic G3.

She was a $150,000 purchase from Arrowfield by David Redvers at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale and is trained by Robert Smerdon for Qatar Bloodstock, established in 2010 and seeking its first Group 1 victory in Australia.

Nine wins, including the Moonee Valley Vase, and five other stakes performances, have put Manhattan Rain in the No. 2 spot on the Second Season Sires’ list with earnings of almost $600,000.

Nineteen years ago at the 1995 Melbourne Spring Carnival a single outstanding 3YO colt, Octagonal, announced the arrival of a major new classic sire, Zabeel.

A few minutes at Flemington over the next seven days may be all it takes to find his successor.

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