Sectionals “terrific”: Mayfield-Smith and Famous Seamus. Photo: Paul HarrisA bemused Noel Mayfield-Smith has joined the chorus questioning the discrepancy between favourite Terravista and the rest of the Manikato Stakes field, claiming there’s “not much more” his own charge Famous Seamus can do.
A day after Buffering’s trainer Robert Heathcote pondered why his four-time group 1 winner was being shopped at such value, Mayfield-Smith could not fathom the $17 being offered about his major winner with Ladbrokes.
Tim Clark took Famous Seamus for a spin around Moonee Valley on Tuesday morning as the Hawkesbury-trained star looks to avenge a first-up defeat to Terravista in The Shorts at Randwick.
Quizzed whether he was surprised at Famous Seamus’ Manikato Stakes standing with bookies, Mayfield-Smith said: “I am, but it is just how it is.
“I don’t know whether I’m biased or not, but, for mine, in The Shorts, if you dissected and watched the race carefully … from his gate, he had to go back and was probably three or four lengths worse off.
“When you’re giving horses of that calibre – Terravista and co – that sort of start over 1100-metres you’re really facing an uphill battle trying to run them down.
“His sectionals were terrific and then he came out and won the Premiere Stakes in a race I thought he would be really vulnerable in.
“I don’t know what more he can do. Maybe it’s the fact he doesn’t go well on wet or shifting ground which has knocked his strike rate around a bit, but he’s still won more than $900,000 in prizemoney.”
Terravista was $3.40 favourite with Ladbrokes on Tuesday night, with Mick Price’s Lankan Rupee ($3.90) expected to challenge for favouritism later in the week. Buffering was third pick at $6 for the $1 million group 1 on Friday night.
Hawkes Racing’s Chautauqua was saved from the race for the Flemington carnival.
Famous Seamus had his first look around Moonee Valley in an early-morning hit-out at the Breakfast With The Best on Tuesday. The six-year-old was able to fly under the radar amid the drama enveloping the Cox Plate field, but his trainer remains buoyed about the prospects of a Manikato Stakes boilover given Melbourne’s fine forecast.
“They’re all blowing up down here about the firm tracks, but it suits him down to the ground,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He worked very nicely and handled Moonee Valley pretty well. He worked to the line strongly and I probably would have liked him to work a little bit stronger early, but his work was very good. In fact, it was very good.”
Despite ambushing his rivals to win his first group 1 in the BTC Cup in May, a Manikato Stakes success would be the jewel in the crown for Mayfield-Smith and long-time client Jim Simpson.
Simpson had a trainer’s licence and raced frequently on the picnic circuit, but is enjoying the deeds of Famous Seamus.
The feedback from Moonee Valley was not so glowing from Tommy Berry, who partnered Gary Moore’s Not Listenin’tome in a moderate gallop. Berry told connections the addition of blinkers would be needed to sharpen the gelding after he drew barrier one in the 1200-metre scamper.
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