Caulfield trainer Nick Ryan is confident Manhattan Rain filly Irish Mist will bounce back in the $1 million The Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday week.
The two-year-old filly, out of Cahira (NZ), has had two starts, both over 1000m, but Ryan believes she’ll be better suited to The Showdown’s 1200m.
Irish Mist won on debut in a two-year-old maiden at Cranbourne early last month and then finished nine of 14 in the VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo on March 27.
Ryan said the filly had spent a week in the paddock and would be back in the stables this week.
“Obviously John Sadler’s colt (the unbeaten Starry Legend) is going to be hard to beat but I think my filly will relish the 1200m,” he said.
“She just couldn’t keep up the other day in what was a fast run race and barrier one didn’t help her. She stood in the gates for a long time and half stepped a little bit slow.”
After leading all the way to win on her debut, Ryan said at Bendigo it was her first time in amongst the field and she didn’t appreciate it, but will be better for the experience.
“She did get beaten seven lengths which is a little bit concerning and she has to improve a lot, but how often do you get a chance at a million race,” Ryan said.
“If you don’t go, you’re mad and she’ll be in with a chance.
“You have to go there and she has had a freshen-up and she’ll run well. She is pretty genuine and will only improve from the experience the other day.
“In her first run she jumped to the front in the two-year-old fillies maiden at Cranbourne the rail was out and she won pretty dominantly.”
Nick Ryan said Irish Mist is the first horse he has trained by Blue Gum’s Manhattan Rain (Encosta De Lago x Shantha’s Choice).
Irish Mist was bred and is raced by prominent breeder and racing identity Barb Saunders, who along with her husband Barry, purchased premier Mornington Peninsula horse property Denistoun Park last year.
Barb like many other owners who have horses entered in the race is wondering whether Sadler’s colt Starry Legend (Zoustar x Savsenga) will run out the 1200m.
“Our filly was looking for 1200m in the race the other day and wasn’t used to being knocked around,” she said.
“She’ll go there and even if it looks tough, it’s worth a go. You just don’t get opportunities and I’d love her to go and be very competitive.
“But Sad’s horse is a worry and is very talented.
“Even if you ran second in a race like that I think it would be pretty good.”
Barb is full of praise for Manhattan Rain who sired Group 1 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign who also won the Group 1 Moir Stakes in the same year – 2017 – along with the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes.
“I just love that Encosta De Lago side of him coming through,” she said.
“I have put more mares to him and have a beautiful colt out of Spinderbella (Spinning World x Belle of The Bay). He is big boy and can’t believe he is so big because she was sort of two dimensional, she was that narrow.
“He is a yearling just being broken at the moment.
“I put stakes winner Every Faith (Not A Single Doubt x Zephyria) and Spinderbella to Manhattan Rain again last year and they are in foal to him now.”
Every Faith has a weanling colt, by Toronado, which is a three quarter to Group 2 winner Alpine Eagle (High Chaparral x Zephyria), and the mare will go back to the Swettenham Stud stallion this year.
Barb admitted that she breds to race, not to sell.
“We never set her for it and it’s just her time in coming through and I think that’s what has to happen that you just sort have got to bring them through when they’re ready.
“I had two fillies going to the race but the other one just wasn’t up to keep on going after winning her race very well at Ballarat. They tell you when they’ve had enough.”
And Barb said they were loving their Denistoun Park property which they had done extensive work on over the past year. The property has every facility to get the horses fit and ready to race.