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Williams hails Manning’s Midas touch

October 21, 2013

Cambridge trainer Ralph Manning is making a habit of turning The Oaks Stud’s trash into treasure.

Manning again struck gold with a mare bred and raced by the Dick Karreman-owned Cambridge studfarm when Innovation came with a sweeping late run to claim Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Team Wealleans Matamata Cup (1600m).

It took Manning’s tally of winners for The Oaks Stud to close to 60, having also trained Run Aground to win seven races for The Oaks general manager Rick Williams, who doubles as the racing manager for the stud-owned horses.

”It was a while ago when I added them all up and it was 50 then,” Manning said yesterday.

”I’d say it’s 55 or 56 at least. I don’t have the high-profile horses because I don’t have the clients to buy for at the sales and they’ve been good for me.”

Among the winners Manning has produced for The Oaks has been champion mare Seachange, a winner of seven Gr I races as well as twice finishing second in Gr I races in Australia, where she was also a Gr III winner.

Magnetism set the ball rolling, winning the Gr II Great Northern Guineas at Ellerslie and the Listed Carbine Club Stakes in Sydney, while Crossthestart won four of his five starts for Manning before he transferred stables.

Manning’s association with The Oaks Stud began through his role pre-training gallopers bound for Australian trainer Bevan Laming, whose clients included Karreman, who after buying the stud continued to utilise the Cambridge horseman as a breaker and then as a trainer, initially with Magnetism.

Williams made it clear how highly he regarded Manning as a trainer after Saturday’s feature, noting how prolific a winner he was with The Oaks Stud gallopers.

”He’s trained more than 50 winners for The Oaks Stud and that’s an extraordinary record when he’s only been given rubbish, to be fair,” Williams said.

”Ralph’s a superb trainer and the best trainer we’ve had for The Oaks Stud and we tend to mainly send him the crooked-legged ones. But he’s done such a good job with them, Seachange being a case-in-point.”

Saturday’s win was Innovation’s seventh from 23 starts and third at stakes level after her Listed Tauranga Classic win last year and Listed Ag Challenge Stakes win at Whanganui in June. She also finished second in last year’s Gr III Winter Cup at Riccarton.

She came from back in the field to give Cambridge apprentice Alex Forbes his first stakes win and raise the prospect of her becoming a Cup contender over the late spring and summer.

The Listed $50,000 Feilding Gold Cup (2100m) at Awapuni on November 2 could be the Keeper five-year-old mare’s first go at a middle distance, with the Gr III Counties Cup (2100m) at Pukekohe on November 23 and the Gr III Waikato Times Gold Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa on December 14 touted as longer term aims.

An alternative could be a late entry for the Gr II $230,000 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m) at Riccarton on November 13.

“She’s out a staying family and I’ve wanted to get her up over more ground for a while but the mile races are here for her and she always gives her best like she did today,” Williams said.

“We came here today thinking Full Of Spirit would probably be too good for us so it’s nice to be proven wrong. Don’t get me wrong – this is a really good mare. And once she gets up over 2000m, I think you’ll see the best of her.”

Coupland’s Bakeries Mile-bound Full Of Spirit hit the front inside the last 200m but had no answers as Innovation went on by to score by 1 1/4 lengths.

Rider Matthew Cameron was pleased with Full Of Spirit’s effort, especially as she had the job of carting the field up to the pacemaking The Shackler and that she hadn’t enjoyed the slow going.

Te Aroha trainer Michael Dromgool was thrilled with The Shackler’s effort to stick on for third and said he would back in Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Rotorua Challenge Plate (1950m), a race The Oaks Stud have targeted for One Above and Skysoblue.

Innovation’s win capped a bountiful year for The Oaks Stud at Matamata, having won February’s Gr II Matamata Breeders’ Stakes with the John Bary-trained Recite at the club’s other feature meeting.

Manning said his winning streak with The Oaks Stud horses was far from over, describing unraced dual trial winner In A Minute as ”a goodie”.

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