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In the Caulfield Guineas Manikato again lined up against Karaman and was caught three wide soon after the start before being eased in behind the leaders. By the 800m The Judge led from Grey Sapphire then Manikato along the rails from Karaman and Just a Steal. On straightening Grey Sapphire took over as Karaman tried to hold Manikato in a pocket. Gary Willetts on Manikato pushed his way out then set out after Grey Sapphire hitting the lead past the 150m. Karaman chased valiantly but Manikato was too good winning by nearly two lengths with Hauberk third. A protest was entered but soon dismissed although Gary Willetts was suspended for 12 weeks.
Manikato then lined up in the Craven A Stakes (now known as the Salinger Stakes) but had a slight temperature on the day of the race. It was decided to run but Bob Hoysted regretted that decision. Manikato broke out in a sweat before the race and down the Flemington straight Manikato couldn’t hold off Always Welcome beaten a neck after lacking acceleration during the race.
After a spell Manikato resumed in the William Reid Stakes on January 29 1979 where he had to work from a wide barrier to take the lead from King of the Stars, Mellowbrook and Dallas Girl with a huge gap to Marceau followed by Salamander and Family of Man. By the 800m Manikato was joined by King of the Stars as little else changed with Salamander and Family of Man starting to make ground from the rear. Around the turn Manikato was going easily in front from King of the Stars with a gap to Dallas Girl then two lengths to Family of Man running on. In the straight Manikato raced away under hands and heels to win easily from King of the Stars with Family of Man a fast finishing third.
The Orr Stakes at Sandown was Manikato’s next start and he jumped straight to the lead from Gypsy Kingdom followed by Family of Man. By the 800m Manikato led Gypsy Kingdom and Family of Man then Sasha’s Choice. Around the turn he had his ears pricked while in front from Gypsy Kingdom & Family of Man with Lloyd Boy running on. Down the long straight he raced away from Gypsy Kingdom with Lefroy running on late from Family of Man to win easily.
Run over 1800m the Futurity followed with Manikato landing in front from Lefroy then Stormy Rex, Leonotis and Lloyd Boy then Salamander, Think Big and Family of Man. By the 1300m Manikato led Leonotis then Stormy Rex followed by Lefroy. Little changed until they turned for home where Manikato raced away from Leonotis as Stormy Rex and Salamander made ground. In the straight Manikato sprinted away from Stormy Rex going on to win by three lengths with Salamander third and Family of Man fourth.
As he had handled the 1800m it was decided to try Manikato over the 2000m in the Australian Cup before heading to Sydney. Manikato took the lead on settling from Turf Ruler, Double Century, Lefroy and Salamander then came Lloyd Boy, Family of Man with Arwon and Dulcify at the rear. Little changed to the straight where Manikato led from a wall of horses headed by Turf Ruler. By the 300m Manikato was well clear of Turf Ruler with Double Century running on with Family of Man out wider. Inside the final 100m Manikato started to stop and it looked like Family of Man would storm to victory just as Dulcify started to lunge between them. In the final few strides Dulcify raced past Manikato who fought back to hold second with Family of Man third.
On to Sydney where Manikato lined up in the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m. March to Glory and Manikato shared the lead into the straight where Manikato fought on but couldn’t match Dulcify over the distance eventually dropping back to pass the post in fourth place. That was his final run in a race over 1600m.
A week later he lined up in the George Ryder Stakes over 1400m and crossed from a wide barrier to lead on settling from Bernard then The Judge followed by Jester Boy. Manikato led around the turn with his ears pricked and soon it was all over as Manikato left the others, headed by Creppellox, standing. Manikato went to the post in front by 6 lengths in record time with Joyita second, Always Welcome third with Belmura Lad fourth.
Seven days later Manikato went to the Doncaster Handicap carrying 57.5kg as a 3yo. He was taken on in front thoroughout the race and despite being passed by winner Belmura Lad fought on to dead heat for third. The breakneck speed resulted in a new Australian record for the 1600m journey.
After a let up Manikato was sent to Brisbane for the Rothman’s 100,000 (now back to its original name the Doomben 10,000) run in early July. He wouldn’t settle in his original stables in Brisbane due to the passing planes from the nearby airport so was moved to Southport 80km away. Carrying 58kg the 3yo sat second until straightening where he hit the front from Imposing and Steel Blade. Casca made a late challenge but Manikato was too good winning narrowly. In winning with 58kg he equalled Baguette’s weight carrying record and became the first 3yo to win over $500,000 in prizemoney.