After the Godolphin team opted not to run star colt Bivouac in The Everest, the three-year-old is poised to start a short-priced favourite in the Group One Manikato Stakes at The Valley.
Godolphin decided to run five-year-old mare Alizee in its slot in Saturday’s $14 million Everest in Sydney, which was won by three-year-old colt Yes Yes Yes with Alizee midfield.
Bivouac had beaten the Chris Waller-trained Yes Yes Yes at his past two starts, including the Group One Golden Rose.
Bivouac heads to Friday night’s weight-for-age Manikato (1200m) and is one of three three-year-olds in the field of 11.
The Manikato is without any of the star sprinters from The Everest, with the races only six days apart
While Bivouac has to prove himself against older horses for the first time, trainer James Cummings believes it shapes as a good year for the younger sprinters.
“Looking at the field there, The Bostonian is a weight-for-age performer from last preparation in the winter but it does look a three-year-old’s year,” Cummings said.
Loving Gaby and Anaheed, both fillies, are the other two three-year-olds in the field with Bivouac to jump from barrier one.
He will be out to emulate Sepoy who is the most recent three-year-old to win the Manikato.
Like Sepoy, Bivouac will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy.
“Sepoy led from barrier one in 2011 but I think we’d have to leave it up to Kerrin to decide if he’s going to let one cross,” Cummings said.
“The horse has wonderful gate speed and that will be for him (McEvoy) to judge in the first instance.
“I think we saw a Group One performance from him in the Golden Rose and he’s had a month between runs to get himself back together and to ensure he’s ready for another Group One performance.
“I feel like he’s looking great. His training has been excellent.
“A little jump-out last week kept him ticking over and we’re ultimately quite pleased with where we are at going into the race.”
After Loving Gaby galloped at The Valley on Tuesday, co-trainer Ciaron Maher decided to run her in the Manikato rather than wait for the Group One Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) the following week.
“I just think she’s working a bit sharp to go to the mile off a 1200 metre race,” Maher said.
“The tempo of the Group One (sprint) should suit her and she seemed to handle The Valley well when she won first-up.”