Manning pulls right rein at Taranaki

Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning knew he had the perfect backup when he withdrew the ultra-smart Innovation from the three-year-old event at New Plymouth today.

Despite having to carry 60.5kg, Innovation would have started a hot favourite in the $25,000 NZ Bloodstock Leasing & Finance 3YO Handicap on the strength of four successive victories.  But Manning decided to sit back and wait with Innovation, who is among the entries for the Group III EstarOnline Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on August 4.

Manning was still represented in the race by Wanabefamous, a winner of two races from nine starts and third in both his outings this campaign. And after watching the horse work early in the week he knew he could still win the Taranaki race.

“Part of the reason I scratched Innovation was because of the way this horse galloped when they worked together,” said Manning. “I couldn’t see the sense in running them against each other.”

Wanabefamous lived right up to Manning’s expectations when winning the 1600-metre event, but he did surprise the trainer by the winning margin — seven and three-quarter lengths. And it wasn’t as though there was weak opposition facing the Star Way colt.

Second home was Smartly, who had won three races and been a model of consistency, while third money, a long neck away, went to Negotiate, a winner two starts ago and a last-start third at Trentham.

Wanabefamous is also owned by Manning, who also has his sights set on the Winter Cup with him. “He hold a Winter Cup nomination and we might sneak him in at the bottom,” said Manning. “Winning this race should help him.”

Wanabefamous was ridden by the in-form Jason Collett, who couldn’t believe how easily the horse won. “He was pretty impressive in that sort of ground,” said Collett referring to the Heavy 10 track. “I was confident turning for home. He did it easily.”