The $1million ATC Golden Rose is the first Group I of the Australian racing season and Coolmore sires filled the quinella with Manawanui (3g Oratorio x Lady Remlap, by Filante) defying the late challenge of boom colt Smart Missile (3c Fastnet Rock x Comical Smile, by Comic Strip).
Trained at Warwick Farm by Ron Leemon, Manawanui has been in spectacular form in recent starts albeit in lesser grade and with a gem of a ride from Glynn Schofield was able to blow the big guns out of the water in this lucrative 1400 metre Rosehill feature.
When dual Group I winner Helmet was slowly away and nobody really wanted to lead, Schofield seized the initiative and allowed Manawanui to stride forward and that was where the race was won.
With interference back in the field hampering both Smart Missile and Helmet, Manawanui stole a march on his rivals to hold a short neck margin on the line over Smart Missile, who charged home out wide late for an unlucky second.
“Everything went wrong at the start and when he went to the front, I said, ‘oh no’ but it’s full credit to Glyn, he rode a tremendous race,” said Ron Leemon, who has steadfastly refused all offers for his stable star including one for $1million on the eve of the race.
Manawanui has now won four of five starts earning $788,380, so his decision looks well founded.
‘‘I was always going to ride him positively and I thought if I was in the position Foxwedge was in the other day, that my horse would have won that race,’’ said winning rider Glynn Schofield.
‘‘My bloke kicked like I expected, when he [Smart Missile] came at him, so really the race was over when I found the front.’’
A $45,000 purchase for his trainer from the Goodwood Farm draft at the 2010 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, Manawanui is the second foal and second winner for seven-time metropolitan winner Lady Remlap, whose previous foal is the good metropolitan winner La Remlap.
A daughter of Epsom Handicap winning sire Filante, Lady Remlap has been a regular visitor to Coolmore and has a two year-old filly by Choisir, the sire of La Remlap, and a yearling colt by Oratorio.
Manawanui is the first stakes-winner in his family in five generations, so Oratorio has certainly done a good job of upgrading this old Australian pedigree, which traces back to champion filly Wenona Girl, who is his sixth dam.
A triple Group I winning son of Danehill, Oratorio returns to Australia this spring at a bargain fee of $11,000 and Manawanui is his 13th stakes-winner worldwide and third Group I winner joining Banchee (New Zealand) and Beethoven (UK).
Oratorio went close to making it a stakes double with his high class four year-old Torio’s Quest (4g Oratorio x Quest for Pleasure, by Quest for Fame) rattling home for a close second in the Group II ATC Sebring Stakes at his first run back from a break.