Manning strikes early on card

Korakonui (Johnathan Parkes) cruising past the winning post an emphatic winner at Awapuni yesterday.

It was a short but successful day’s racing for Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning at Awapuni yesterday.

Manning went south with three starters, one in each of the first three races, and had to be pleased with the efforts of each one, particularly first-race winner Korakonui.

Korakonui picked up her fifth win from 30 starts and extended her unbeaten record on the Awapuni track to three when proving far too good for her rivals in the Landmark Homes Premier 2200m.

Ridden by Johnathan Parkes, she tracked the leader in the five-horse field and when she put the pressure on nearing the home turn  it was evident she was the one to beat. She took over on the home turn and after being three lengths clear with 200m to run she won by three and three-quarter lengths from the favourite Hoist.

Each of her Awapuni wins have been recorded this season, the first last November when taking a Rating 65 2100m and the next, four starts later in a rating 72 2100m early last month.

A trek to Wairoa resulted in a fourth in the Wairoa Cup (2100m) and she went into yesterday’s race with a last-start fourth behind Sampson in the Listed NZ St Leger (2600m) at Trentham.

Korakonui’s connections are keen to have the All American mare at Riccarton in November for a crack at the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m), the feature won by a former stablemate Pump Up The Volume three years ago. And judging by the authority she showed in yesterday’s win she could be a realistic hope in the Riccarton event.

“The further she goes the better she’ll be,’’ was Parkes’ comment after the race. ‘’She outstayed them.’’

Lala Land (Chris Johnson) completing a double for Ralph Manning at Awapuni yesterday..

Korakonui did appreciate the drop in company from her St Leger outing and Manning will now consider the next step for the five-year-old.

Cutting Up Rough was the second of Manning’s runners yesterday and, though he didn’t win, he produced a top effort when flashing home late for third behind the highly rated Rock On Wood in the Ricoh Premier 1600m.

A winner of seven races, he is raced by Manning and his partner, Sarah Harris, who share in the ownership of the Per Incanto six-year-old with Manning’s parents, Bob and Kathleen.

The same group didn’t have long to wait for a win with stablemate Lala Land to the fore in the very next race, thanks to a superb ride from Chris Johnson.

Johnson had Lala Land midfield on the inner and when held up a few times from the 600m he didn’t panic and waited for a gap. The opening was presented one-off the fence with 200m to run and Johnson quickly took it, pushing Lala Land through and on to a three-quarter-length win in the Resonant Premier 1600m.

It was Lala Land’s second win from a dozen starts and it came just over a year after his maiden win over 1400m at Hawera. Between times the son of Darci Brahma had to settle for three placings in seven starts and had been unlucky when fourth at Gisborne last month.