Sea Siren won her third Group 1 race when taking the $750,000, WFA Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night in a tribute to the training of Randwick’s John O’Shea and the depth of belief in the mare by majority owner Keith Biggs.
Trainer John O'Shea, picture Quentin Lang,quentinjlang.com
The four-year-old mare, under Jim Cassidy, was well positioned throughout the race with Cassidy settling her in third place from barrier five after she had started brilliantly.
The $2.30 favourite Buffering and Hugh Bowman came through underneath Sea Siren from barrier one. Satin Shoes and James McDonald then came up outside Buffering from barrier six, leaving Cassidy content to sit off these two.
The field fanned as they entered the final turn and immediately Cassidy went three wide outside Buffering on the rails and Satin Shoes outside.
Satin Shoes was the first to feel the pressure and then Buffering was under pressure with 150m to run. He came off the fence and faded. Mental and Kerrin McEvoy were there to take the gap on the rails.
However, Sea Siren had showed a turn of foot off the turn that sent her clear and with 100m to run the mare was a length in front. Mental chased hard on the inside, but Sea Siren had the margin that mattered early and she went to the line with a neck advantage of the rapidly approaching Lonhro gelding. Cassidy gave a trademark pump of the fist in celebration after the line.
The leading duo were well clear of the rest with We’re Gonna Rock (Fastnet Rock) and Michael Rodd third, the margin 2 1/4L. Hallowell Belle was fourth and Temple Of Boom fifth. Buffering finished sixth, some 3 1/4L from the winner.
The time was 1.11.32 on the Dead 4 track with the final 600m in 35.41. Sea Siren paid $5.20.
Sea Siren and Jim Cassidy with Mental and Kerrin McEvoy inside, picture Quentin Lang, quentinjlang.com
O’Shea acknowledged that there was relief in the win with the mare starting for the first time since her excellent winter campaign in Brisbane which yielded her first two Group 1 races, the BTC Cup over 1200m and Doomben 10,000 over 1350m, both at Doomben.
During his preparation of the Sea Siren for the Manikato Stakes run Biggs, who bred the mare, turned down an offer for her believed to be around $2 million. O’Shea greeted Biggs with a firm handshake as they both savoured the win.
“It panned out pretty good,” said O’Shea.
“She will improve on that today and she was too good for them. Her condition gave out late as she was entitled to after the work she did.
“She does not make too many mistakes and she put in a really good performance tonight. She travelled beautifully and most importantly a great Jimmy Cassidy ride.
“Right from the time she stepped back in the stable this time we felt she had made good improvement and it has just been a matter of getting her fit gradually and having her right tonight.
“It was probably a testament to her performance because those horses that travelled around her in the run finished well back in the field so she was probably entitled with her condition to give out late.
“I was very happy for the owners and of course I was very happy for Jimmy because he’s been a wonderful asset to our stable.”
“We’d love to run her down the straight and see if she is as effective down the straight because I probably have some reservations about that, but I would love to take her to Hong Kong because that is the pinnacle of international racing around the world,” he said.
O’Shea said that Sea Siren would now proceed to the $1m, Group 1 Patinack Farm (1200m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, November 11th.
“I’ve always had a big opinion of her and what she was able to do in Brisbane was quite outstanding, to come from restricted grade and win a couple of Group 1’s,” said Cassidy.
“I always thought she’d come back better and her couple of trials have been tremendous.
“I thought her work here on Tuesday was tremendous and she took the (Moonee) Valley like a duck to water so I just thought she could win.
“I knew that way I was travelling on the corner they would have to be good to come from behind me and beat me. She won the way I thought she would with a bit up her hand,” he said.
Cassidy had no qualms on Sea Siren handling the straight Flemington sprint.
“She can run uphill, let alone in a straight line,” he said.
McEvoy was pleased with Mental’s run after leaving from barrier nine.
“It was a super run and I rode him for luck. The race down the straight will suit him ideally,” he said.
The four-year-old is one of a number of Darley’s Australian stables due to enter quarantine after spring racing to join Godolphin’s Dubai stables.
Trainer Robert Heathcote said after the race that he could not find anything immediately wrong with Buffering, but that he would have the horse inspected as a pre-caution.
Sea Siren is out of the Express Success mare Express A Smile and her outstanding record extends to six wins from nine races and two placings. She is owned by Biggs, Horseshoe Investments Syndicate managed by R Russell, P Waller, J Monterrubio and Ms C Biggs. Stake are now $1.3m.
Full result Manikato Stakes