Smart Missile colt is Guineas-bound

Mick Price is looking ahead with some confidence to the Bill Stutt Stakes and the Caulfield Guineas after Masculino’s all-the-way win over 1509 metres at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

It was the first try in city company for the son of Smart Missile after his 2YO debut win last April, and an easy victory over 1400 metres at Cranbourne on 27 August. 

Jake Noonan took advantage of Masculino’s ace draw to roll forward and take up the lead where the colt settled comfortably, despite being pressed in the middle stages by Sheer Madness.

Coming round the turn, Masculino had all his rivals in trouble except the top-weighted Eshtiraak who emerged quickly to challenge, but was held at bay by Masculino who rallied gamely to win by a long neck with Sunquest third.

Watch Masculino win at Moonee Valley.

Mick Price said, “I was happy that he won, he does have some improvement in him, I think he’s going to be a nice big Flemington horse if he trains on after the Caulfield Guineas.

“He handled Moonee Valley well, the Bill Stutt will be a little bit tougher but that will be the way he’s going.”

Bred by Grant Ahearn & David Yu, Masculino is the second winner left by Special Melody (by Encosta de Lago), an unraced daughter of three-time Group 1 winner Special Harmony and sister to multiple stakeswinner Little Surfer Girl. Special Melody is due to foal this Spring to Not A Single Doubt. 

Masculino was offered by Glastonbury Stud at the 2016 Magic Millions Sale where Mick Price & Luke Wilkinson bought him for $120,000.

Already 2015/16’s Champion First Season Sire  and the 2016/17 Leading Second Season Sire by winners, Smart Missile is off to an excellent start this season. His 15 winners and more than $600,000 prizemoney give him an early lead among Australia’s stallions with three crops of racing age, and 15th spot on the General Sires’ table.  

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.