Named in honour of the Australian Hall of Fame sprinter, Manikato was renowned for his deeds at The Valley in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Costing just $3,500, the son of Manihi became the second horse in Australian history to earn over $1 million ($1,154,210) from his 29 career victories – two of which came in the race named in his honour today.
Manikato is buried at The Valley Racecourse, the scene where he famously took out the William Reid Stakes on five consecutive occasions (1979-83). The top heavy chestnut gelding would also achieve the rare feet of taking out the classic juvenile double in the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Golden Slipper and would race on to his six year-old year with 47 starts.
The $1 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes is run over 1200 metres on Day One of the Ladbrokes Cox Plate Carnival (formerly known as the Freeway Stakes between 1968-1983). Run at weight-for-age conditions, the event is held under the famous lights at The Valley and despite the remarkable difference in distance – five horses in Tauto (1974), Strawberry Road (1983), Rubiton (1987), Dane Ripper (1997) and Sunline (2000) – have been able to complete the Manikato Stakes-Cox Plate double.
There have been many mouth-watering clashes as Australia’s best sprinters have gone head-to-head around The Valley’s tight circumference to do battle.
Manikato himself first took out the event 12 years after the races inception – 11 years after the mighty Vain won the race in 1969. You can’t look too far down the honour roll without being struck by stardom from champion stallion Redoute’s Choice to international superstar and track record holder Miss Andretti (1.09.29). In recent times Black Caviar’s nemesis Hay List, dominant colt Sepoy, Queensland’s warrior Buffering and two of the most dominant sprinters of the modern era, Lankan Rupee and Chautauqua, have raised the trophy.