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19/9/2003 edition

Group 1 Manikato Stakes

What a brilliant first up win by the 7YO mare Spinning Hill. That made her the first 7YO mare to win a Weight for Age Group 1 race since Tranquil Star won the 1944 Cox Plate. Let's also not ignore the training achievement of Guy Walter.

The John Hawkes trained Yell, $2.30 favourite, put in a disappointing run and finished a weakening fifth, over three lengths from the winner. Yell won first up four weeks earlier. It's probably best to dismiss the run. Occasionally horses which win well first up inexplicably fail second up. But then doesn't that happen after a win at anytime during a horse's campaign?

It didn't stop Yell earlier this year. He won first up at Moonee Valley over 1200 metres on January 23, then won the Group 1 Weight for Age C. F. Orr Stakes over 1400 metres two weeks later at Caulfield and then went on to win his next two races in Melbourne.

Probably a more likely reason for Yell's poor run in the Manikato rather than "second up syndrome after a first up win" is the four week break between the first up win over 1000 metres and his second up run over 1200 metres.

Astute trainer Brian Mayfield-Smith made a very interesting comment on radio Sport 927 last Saturday about his two runners in the race. He said he preferred the chances of his 5YO mare The Big Chill to the more popular 4YO mare Lovely Jubly. He did add that he's not a betting person and gave up the punt many years ago because he prefers to keep his money!

The Big Chill, which started at $10.00, finished third and again struck trouble, being held up for a run. Lovely Jubly, $6.00 third favourite behind Yell and Spinning Hill, finished sixth.

In some ways possibly the biggest run in the race was that of Civil who finished fourth. This 4YO gelding was first up. He had only raced twice before - for a win on September 20, 2002 in a Sale maiden and then a second in a Cranbourne Class 1 on November 10, 2002.

You have to think that new trainer, James Riley, must have known something to start an inexperienced maiden winner who had just raced twice, first up after nearly a year in a Group 1 Weight for Age race. When has that previously happened? Wonder what that fourth will do to Civil's handicap weight should the gelding next be entered in an Open Handicap?

This edition of Punt to Win:
Comment - Group 1 Manikato Stakes
Race analysis - this bet can't lose
Moonee Valley - good luck or hard luck racetrack?
Spring Carnival horses - good runs, good betting odds
Gai Waterhouse, John Hawkes and Private Steer
Betting favourites in small fields
Money talks - Rosehill, Moonee Valley betting tips from the track
Handicapping tips - weight and class
Future winners - unlucky horses
Punt to Win 12/9/2003
Punt to Win index


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