Vega Magic favourite for G1 Manikato

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October 24, 2017 - 03:18 PM

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Vega Magic is a clear favourite to win his third Group One race this year against high-quality opposition in the $1 million Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.

A field of 11 has been declared for Friday night's feature sprint, including 2015 winner Chautauqua, in-form NSW mare In Her Time and equal track record holder Malaguerra.

Field 🏇: View the Manikato Stakes Field

Winner of The Goodwood and Memsie Stakes, and last-start runner-up in the $10 million The Everest, Vega Magic is at $2.25 after drawing favourably in barrier three.

"He was very unlucky in The Everest, just from the wide barrier," co-trainer Ben Hayes said.

"The way he pulled up after The Everest, we're thrilled with him."

The visiting Ben Smith-trained In Her Time is striving to break through at the elite level and got her first look around the unique Moonee Valley track in a solo gallop on Tuesday.

Jockey Corey Brown was "rapt" with the work.

"She apparently played up a little bit in the stalls when they first arrived and Ben was a bit iffy about working her," Brown said.

"But she galloped really, really well. She got on her right leg and she's just a lovely horse.

"She's in the right frame of mind and she's going well.

"She had no troubles at all with the track."

In Her Time, winner of The Everest Consolation, is second favourite at $5.50 and Brown is excited about her chances after drawing barrier two.

Hey Doc is back to sprinting after failing in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) last month and has worked at Moonee Valley twice in the past week.

Trainer Tony McEvoy said his work there was sharp on Tuesday.

"He's ready to go," McEvoy said.

The Peter Gelagotis-trained Malaguerra, who equalled Miss Andretti's track record in this year's Australia Stakes, has the outside draw.

Stable representative Manny Gelagotis says the Manikato has been Malaguerra's target, but added the sprinter's owner would have the final call on whether he runs from the wide draw.

"We're thrilled with with the way he's going," Gelagotis said.

"He's got a good record over the 1200.

"There appears good speed. He might need a bit of luck but it might fall into our hands too.

"We've just got to dissect the race and we'll make a final call on it."