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Profile of a Champion

By Manihi from Markato
Page 1

Champion Manikato raced over 6 seasons winning 29 races of which 22 are now recognised at Group 1 level.  He was sired by classy racehorse Manihi who in turn was by champion Matrice.

Manihi was an outstanding speedster and after winning the Breeders Stakes in Adelaide was aimed at the Golden Slipper but this was cancelled after the colt refused to travel on the plane.  Manihi gained superstar status in winning the Newmarket Hcp in the autumn of 1968 but only 12 months later his racing career came to a sudden halt when he broke down badly with a fractured sesamoid in February 1969.   Manihi started 16 times for 11 wins.  The stallion was saved and commenced his stud career.  Standing at Noonamah Stud at Echunga in South Australia he sired 12 stakeswinners including Manikato, Court Sabre, Mighty Manitou, Maniwreck, Paraparap, Man to Man, etc and died in February 1986.  Matrice also stood at Noonamah Stud.

Manikato was from Markato a mare who raced at two and three years for 4 placings but ultimately retired a maiden with her last run producing a second placing at Strathalbyn in South Australia in May 1972.  The mare had been purchased by Ross Truscott who purchased her at the Adelaide yearling sales for $1,300 in 1970.  Ross Truscott is best known for Truscott’s Menswear stores. 

Markato’s first foal was Grand Fiesta (by Rajah Sahib) but the filly was unraced due to the injuries that she suffered after running into a fence.  Sold for only $300 she went to stud and produced 9 named foals including the Group 1 stakeswinner Abstraction (Abstraction also had a second career as ‘black beauty’ in a NZ television production).  Markato then produced the filly Tumerah (by Red God) who was sold for $3,500 as a yearling.  Tumerah was a racewinner and later went on to success at stud.  Manikato was her third foal in 1975 while another colt Cividale by Habeas Corpus was foaled in 1976 who was sold for $300.  Another filly was foaled in 1977 Secret Morn by Zooming Zone and then a colt by Red God called Daumier in 1978.  Daumier went to stud in 1985 to 1991 and sired 60 foals.  The 1979 foal was a colt called Mark of Man and was a full brother to Manikato.  Mark of Man was passed in at the 1981 sales and was purchased privately before being syndicated.  He was showing plenty of ability until he broke a shoulder at trackwork and had to be put down as a 2yo.  Markato slipped in 1980 before foaling another full brother to Manikato in 1981 called Sonakato.  Sonakato showed speed in trials but never raced.  As a 4yo in 1985 he was retired to Glen Appin Stud and during a short stud career of 5 years he sired 80 foals.  Markato then slipped to Manihi 1982-84 and after missing from 1985 – 89 was retired from stud duty.

Manikato was reared in Campbelltown only a few kilometres from the CBD – the small paddock & fence seen on the production “The King & The Man’ is now gone.  As a foal he was savaged by his dam but survived to head to the Adelaide sales held at Wayville.  The sales ring is still there in a corner of the horse area of the Adelaide Showgrounds.  Manikato was offered for sale on a day where the temperature soared to over 40 degrees and went through the sale as Lot 387. 

It was through Tumerah that Mal Seccull came to own Manikato.  He had raced the filly who was showing promise at the time when the full brother came up for sale.  Bon Hoysted was unable to attend the sale so asked his brother Bob Hoysted to have a look at the Manihi colt.  If there was nothing wrong with him the instructions were to bid up to $7,000.  Bob Hoysted couldn’t find anything wrong but later said there was little to like about the horse which was described as ‘ a big gaunt horse with a boof head’.  The colt came into the ring and only two bids later for $3,500 went to the Hoysted stable.  Mal Seccull couldn’t find anyone who was interested in racing the colt in partnership so remained the sole owner.  The colt, who could prove difficult,  was soon gelded and was later broken in by Ross McDonald.     

The gelding who grew to stand 16.3hh only had three strappers through his career and was known to bite and would kick if given the chance.  He showed early promise on the track and was being prepared for the early 2yo races when he injured his back in hurdling the crossing when taken to Flemington for a workout. 

Manikato made his debut at Cranbourne in late January 1978 in a 2yo Hcp over 1000m and won easily by 6 lengths.  His next run was at Flemington where he easily beat home the favourite Rumpus Room and the others in his division but on the other side of the track Karaman was doing the same on the ‘faster’  side of the straight course.  Karaman went past the post in front in the first of meetings between to the rivals.  

10 days later Manikato lined up again over the straight 1000m course at Flemington.  By the 400m he hit the front but was soon challenged by Turf Ruler Manikato fought back strongly to come away over the final 200m defeating Outpace and Turf Ruler easily. 

Despite his outstanding form Manikato lined up at 12-1 for the Blue Diamond Stakes.  He went forward on settling and was second behind Toolern High who led well off the rails by the 800m.  Around the turn Manikato had taken control from Toolern High then Turf Ruler.  In the straight Manikato sprinted clear under hands and heels to win from Toolern High with a gap to Embassadora third. 

After the race Bon Hoysted planned to head to the VRC Sires Produce but Gary Willetts and Mal Seccull convinced the trainer that Manikato was good enough to win the Golden Slipper.  Black Opaque led in the early stages with Manikato one off the rail with the pair well clear of the field.  Black Opaque led Manikato around the home turn with a gap back to Jewel Flight but by the 200m Manikato had assumed control and raced away under his own steam.  Manikato tired towards the finish but had plenty in hand over the fast finishing Smokey Jack with Jewel Flight third and Black Opaque fourth.  Two weeks later he lined up in the AJC Sires Produce but the wet conditions took their toll and after sitting in second position he dropped out to finish 5th behind Karaman returning to scale in a distressed condition. 

The 2yo crop was considered very average compared with the previous year where Luskin Star, Blazing Saddles, etc had emerged.  However at the time Manikato was the second highest stakeswinning 2yo with earnings of $152,060.  Manikato was sent for a spell and during that time Bon Hoysted died suddenly from a massive heart attack.  Major stables tried to secure training duties but he was soon transferred to Bon’s brother Bob Hoysted. 


Manikato returned to racing in the Ascot Vale Stakes in September.  After the field settled into stride Manikato led narrowly from Rumpus Room and Court Sabre followed by The Judge out wider on the track.  By the 400m Manikato led by two lengths from Karaman and Rumpus Room with The Judge still wide.  Passing the 200m Karaman gave chase to challenge from The Judge but Manikato fought back strongly to win in record time.  Three weeks later he lined up against the older horses in the Marlboro Cup where he settled third as Hartbalm powered to led by over two lengths.  Around the turn Hartbalm drifted wide and Manikato ran on between horses and by the 200m he had sprinted clear to go on to win by four lengths from Lipman and Shannara.



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