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.

Manhattan Rain moves up Second Season Sires' list

For second season sire Manhattan Rain, Caulfield Cup day was something of a groundhog experience, with three of his talented 3YOs almost exactly repeating their stakes performances at Flemington two weeks ago.

However, their latest efforts were rewarded with more prizemoney, enough to elevate Manhattan Rain to the No. 2 spot on the Australian Second Season Sires’ list where he splits Turffontein and Medaglia d’Oro. Manhattan Rain’s season earnings now total $432,640.

Once again, his Arrowfield-bred daughter Crafty unwound a terrific finish, this time at the end of 2000 metres in Saturday’s $750,000 MRC Caulfield Classic G3. Once again, she was beaten a neck by her classy stablemate Fontein Ruby, but this time she was the runner-up, almost a length ahead of the colt Firehouse Rock.

Trained by Robert Smerdon for Qatar Bloodstock, and a stakeswinner last season, Crafty gives every sign of being well-suited by the 2500 metres of the VRC Oaks G1 for which she is the early favourite.

Light Up Manhattan, trained by Ciaron Maher, filled fourth position in the Caulfield Classic, the same place he occupied in Listed company over 1800 metres on 4 October.  However, this time the Victoria Derby contender finished much closer and his jockey Hugh Bowman said, “Very good run. He’ll enjoy getting to Flemington.”

Once again, a half-neck margin separated the Mick Price-trained Manhattan Avenue from Stratum Star, but this time it was Manhattan Avenue doing the chasing. The post came up just too soon for him in the $120,000 Gothic S. 1400m LR, but his determination under pressure was, once again, impressive.

Crafty, Light Up Manhattan, Manhattan Avenue are among Manhattan Rain’s five stakes performers, and Music Man, successful at Gosford on Sunday, took his tally of winners to eleven.

The Manhattan Rains pour it on at Flemington

Top four finishes by Manhattan Rain’s three stakes runners on Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington showed their readiness for upcoming Spring Classic engagements.

Qatar Bloodstock’s filly Crafty (ex Spirited Dancer by Sadler’s Wells) powered home for third, beaten only a head and a short head by her game stablemate Fontein Ruby and the favourite Maastricht in the $200,000 VRC Edward Manifold S. 1600m G2.

Crafty settled near the rear of the field, making ground around the turn and doing her best work over the final 600 metres, running it in 34.09, faster than both the winner and the runner-up.  “A very good run” was jockey Craig Williams’ summation of Crafty’s effort.

Already the winner of the VRC Gibson Carmichael S. LR as a late 2YO, Crafty’s principal Spring target is the $1 million VRC Oaks G1 on 6 November.

The Mick Price-trained colt Manhattan Avenue (ex Tizzy May by Danzero) settled fifth on the rail in the $120,000 VRC Yellowglen Vintage S. 1400m LR, then pushed forward between horses soon after the turn and hit the lead 200 metres from the post. Stratum Star emerged quickly behind him and caught him just short of the post to win by a half-neck, with two lengths to Kapset in third place.

Light Up Manhattan (ex Luminata by Zabeel) was sixth during the running of the $120,000 UCI S. 1800m LR and galloped home staunchly for fourth, though well behind the first three. He and Manhattan Avenue are both nominated for the $1.5 million Victoria Derby G1 on 1 November.

Manhattan Rain now has 5 stakes performers from his first crop, headed by Group 3 winner Moonovermanhattan, second in the MVRC Stutt S. G2 on 26 September and also a Derby contender.

Rain, rain, rain for Flemington on Saturday

Don’t panic, this isn’t the weather forecast for Flemington – Saturday is going to be warm and sunny.  Instead, it marks the start of what may be a very exciting Spring Carnival for a promising second season sire.

Manhattan Rain has not one, but three runners, all of them Inglis sale graduates, in black type races at Flemington on Saturday. Better still, their trainers all have bigger targets on their Spring programmes.

Light Up Manhattan (ex Luminata by Zabeel) will take his place in the Listed VRC UCI Stakes over 1800 metres fresh from his maiden win on 21 September.

He was bought initially by Peter Clarke from the Supreme Thoroughbreds draft at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, and was twice stakes-placed at two, including a half-length second to Merion in the VRC Anzac Day S. LR.

Trainer Ciaron Maher and a group of owners led by Colin McKenna (also owner of Girl Guide and Gregers) purchased Light Up Manhattan after that preparation specifically as a Victoria Derby prospect.

Maher says, “He’s very scopey and clean-winded, with a lovely temperament and he’s still learning his craft so I’ve trained him quite softly. I’m starting to screw him down now, so he should improve further out the back of Saturday’s race.

“He’ll go to the Spring Champion Stakes, and then if he needs another run, the Caulfield Classic before the Derby. He’s a massive-striding horse and the distance and the big open track at Flemington will suit him.”

Mick Price will saddle up the talented Manhattan Avenue for the 3YO sprint race at Flemington, the Listed Yellowglen Vintage Stakes over 1400 metres.

Placed at two, he broke his maiden at his second start this season, defeating subsequent Caulfield winner Firehouse Rock. Manhattan Avenue  ran off in that race on 20 September, but trialled without a problem around the course on Tuesday.

Interviewed by Shane Anderson on Radio Sport National on Friday morning, Price said,  “He’s a nice horse…he might end up in the Carbine Club and the Sandown Guineas if he trains on. He’ll run well, but I just think a mile will be better for him.”

Manhattan Avenue (ex Tizzy May by Danzero) was also offered at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale, where Price bought him from Northern Lodge Stud.

The Arrowfield-bred filly Crafty runs for Qatar Bloodstock in the Group 2 VRC Edward Manifold Stakes over 1600 metres. She won the Listed Gibson Carmichael Stakes at the same course and distance in July, and judging by his interview with Radio Sport National on Thursday morning, trainer Robert Smerdon clearly has his eye on her VRC Oaks nomination.

“She ran on well from the back after drawing wide at Caulfield last start [on 20 September] but hasn’t fared too much better at the barrier on Saturday, so I suspect she’s going to be a fair way off them at some stage, and maybe she’s got to get out over a longer trip before we see her to best advantage.”

From the Sadler’s Wells mare Spirited Dancer, Crafty is a half-sister to Lunar Rise (VRC Carbine Club S. G3) and was a $150,000 purchase by David Redvers from Arrowfield at the 2013 Inglis Easter Sale. 

Manhattan Rain heads the Australian Second Season Sires’ table by winners with a total of six, and is already the sire of two stakeswinners, Crafty and Moonovermanhattan, also a fine second in last weekend’s MVRC Stutt S. G2, and on the second line of betting for the Victoria Derby G1.

Bright forecast for Manhattan Rain winners

Major Spring 3YO races are possibilities for both of Manhattan Rain’s latest winners, the filly Talisa and the colt Light Up Manhattan.

Talisa (ex Lustre Lady by Flying Spur) lined up over 1400 metres on Sunday at Hawkesbury where she jumped well from barrier 11 and settled in fourth position behind the early leader Our Catch.

Jockey Winona Costin began to urge the filly forward round the turn. She picked up ground steadily, then dashed home over the final 100 metres to score by a length from her stablemate and Arrowfield graduate Our Catch (by Flying Spur) who fought on gamely for second.

Talisa was a $115,000 Star Thoroughbreds purchase from the Torryburn Stud draft at the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Her win certainly pleased trainer Gai Waterhouse, who considers her a likely staying filly. She noted, “The win was so dominant that talk immediately turned to some potential big spring targets.”

Light Up Manhattan (ex Luminata by Zabeel) showed ability as a 2YO with two Listed stakes placings from three starts, including a half-length second to recent 3YO stakeswinner Merion.

Sent on Sunday to Wangaratta by his trainer Ciaron Maher for a 1590-metre maiden, Light Up Manhattan scored by a long neck  from Ocean Frontier with Berserk 5 lengths away third.

Maher said, “He’s a work in progress, he’s still green and learning his craft, but he was ridden quietly off a slow pace.

“I said to Mark (Zahra) to get him to a nice bit of galloping room and thought his ability would get him over the line. I think he’s got a bright future. He was bought as a Derby prospect and we’re still going that way.”

Light Up Manhattan was a $36,000 purchase from the Supreme Thoroughbreds draft at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Manhattan Rain now leads the Second Season Sires’ list by winners with a tally of six – five of them successful in the past 12 days.

Manhattan Rain colt lights up at Flemington

One runner well worth following from Anzac Day racing at Flemington is the 2YO colt Light Up Manhattan (Manhattan Rain-Luminata by Zabeel).

He became the second stakes performer for first season sire Manhattan Rain when he powered home late to nab second in the VRC Anzac Day S. 1210m LR, won by Merion, with Divan & Lazyaxl dead-heating for third.

It was an effort made more impressive by the colt’s car-park draw, which gave him no chance to save ground at any stage of the race. Jockey Steven King didn’t force him onto the pace early, instead allowing him to find his feet and settle near the rear of the 15-horse field.

Coming around the home turn, Light Up Manhattan was four wide and a long way off the leaders, and with 200 metres to run still had most of the field in front of him. King balanced him up before asking the colt to sprint and the response he received in the final 100 metres took the pair through the pack into second place, only a half-length from the winner.

It was the kind of performance that promises more and that’s exactly what Light Up Manhattan’s pedigree indicates too. Manhattan Rain trained on from juvenile Group 1 success to Group 1 placings in the Caulfield Guineas and the Cox Plate, and there is no shortage of toughness or class on the distaff side either.

The sires of Light Up Manhattan’s first four dams are among New Zealand’s very best sources of those qualities over the past half-century or so: multiple champion sire Zabeel, champion sire Noble Bijou and leading sires Mellay and Kurdistan.

Light Up Manhattan’s dam Luminata is a winning daughter of multiple stakeswinner Taciturn and a half-sister to The Hind (7 wins including 1998 Adelaide Cup G1) and Oregon Star (whose 8 wins included the 1997 Geelong Cup LR). A little further back the names of 1970s Group 1 winners Taras Bulba and Turfcutter can be found, while another branch of the family produced champion miler Starcraft, now a barnmate of Manhattan Rain at Arrowfield.

Bred by Queensland-based Andrew Taylor of GT Thoroughbreds, Light Up Manhattan was sold for $36,000 to Caulfield trainer Peter Clarke from the Supreme Thoroughbreds draft at the 2013 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.

Manhattan Rain has also been represented this season by Chengdu (stakes-placed in Perth), Giuliani (placed in Sydney and 4th, ATC Skyline S. G2) and the winner Downtown Manhattan. He will stand the 2014 season at a fee of $16,500 inc. GST.