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Fulham Gardens SA
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Five weeks later Manikato started his 4yo season with the Freeway Stakes at Moonee Valley where Oenjay Star led Manikato with a gap to Mr Magic, Scamanda and Karaman. By the 400m Manikato coasted past Oenjay Star with a space to Mr Magic. Manikato held off a second effort from Oenjay Star in the wet conditions with a space to Private Talk third.
Carrying 59.5kg Manikato lined up in the Marlboro Cup over 1400m in late September but everything went wrong. In the boggy conditions he struck himself and was also galloped on during the running of the race. Later he was found to be suffering from a virus after the unplaced run. He was sent for a spell to recover and prepare for the autumn.
Manikato returned to racing in the William Reid Stakes where Tincture settled in front from Manikato then two lengths to Sanís Rival followed by Waitangarua then Safras and Haulberk. By the 700m Tincture led Manikato then Sanís Rival with a gap to Waitangarua. Around the turn Manikato was already being declared the winner as he cruised to the front racing well clear of Sanís Rival and Tincture. In the straight under hands and heels Manikato went to the line winning by four lengths from Haulberk. In the Orr Stakes by the 800m Manikato led Kingís Highway and Hyperno. Little changed until well into the long Sandown straight where Manikato was going strongly from Hyperno with Better Copy running on. Manikato strode to the line hard held from Hyperno with Better Copy third.
The Futurity turned into another procession Ė passing the 1000m Asian Beau led Manikato then Jukebox Junior and Tolhurst followed by Gondolier, Better Copy and Consenting. Around the turn Manikato cruised up to Asian Beau followed by Tolhurst. The race was soon beyond doubt as Manikato raced away for an easy win from Asian Beau and Jukebox Junior.
It was then on to Sydney where Manikato lined up in the George Ryder Stakes. By the 800m Manikato led Steel Blade then Silver Wraith. On straightening Silver Wraith gave chase but Manikato came away under hands and heels to win in record time from Gypsy Kingdom with Sportscast third.
Two weeks later he lined up in the AJC Galaxy with 60.5kg and led early but over the final stages he dropped back to pass the post in 8th position. Immediately it was noted he had suffered a severe bleeding attack and later found that he had also suffered a heart attack. Many thought at the time he would never race again after 25 starts for 17 wins there were also offers from the US to buy him due to being allowed to race over there on drugs to reduce bleeding. His connections considered the offers but decided that it would be better for the horse to remain in Australia even if he never made it back to the racetrack.
Manikato did make it back and lined up for his third straight William Reid Stakes in January 1981. Due to the extreme heat there was a worry he would bleed again but Bob Hoysted followed a suggestion from George Purcell to hose out the float with cold water then hang wet blankets on the sides to cool the float on the way to the races. On settling Manikato led on the outside of Prince Ruling then Grey Sapphire followed by Lawman. Little changed to the turn where Manikato led Grey Sapphire with Turf Ruler and Lawman running on from Prince Ruling. On straightening Manikato kicked clear of Turf Ruler then Grey Sapphire with Hyperno running on from the back. Turf Ruler made a determined challenge on the outside but Manikato was too strong winning by a long neck with a gap to Hyperno third.
He lined up in the Orr Stakes again and on settling Prince Ruling led Manikato then My Brown Jug and Super Spree with Ming Dynasty next. Around the home turn Manikato was narrowly in front from My Brown Jug with Turf Ruler starting to run on. By the 200m Manikato started to come away from My Brown Jug but Turf Ruler was running on hard down the outside. My Brown Jug came again in the final stages but Manikato fought hard to win by a half neck.
In the Futurity Manikato settled in front with Ducatoon on the rails then Old Breck followed by Turf Ruler. Into the straight Manikato kicked well clear of Ducatoon with Turf Ruler running on. In the final 50m Manikato held his advantage to win from Ducatoon with Turf Ruler third.
It was in the autumn that Manikato started to suffer from problems with his tendons and was soon spelled. During the break Gary Willetts and Bob Hoysted had a falling out which resulted in a new rider being booked for the new season. There was some initial suggestion that the new rider would be Mick Dittman but ultimately Roy Higgins took over the ride.
Manikato resumed in the Bernborough Hcp over 1000m at Sandown in early September carrying 63.5kg. Manikato hit the front turning for home and slowly drew away under the massive weight to win from King of the Stars. Two weeks later he lined up in the Marlboro Cup with 60.5kg running second to the lightweight Soldier of Fortune to whom he conceded 8 kg.
Five days later Manikato lined up in the Queen Elizabeth Cup run in honour of the Royal Tour and the Queenís attendance at the meeting. By the 1000m Manikato carted the field up to the runaway leader and was soon joined by Sovereign Red the Glenson. By the 800m Manikato led Sovereign Red followed by My Axeman then Glenson with Lawman starting to make ground. Sovereign Red headed Manikato on straightening but Manikato fought back to regain the lead with Silver Bounty beind the pair with Lawman running on. Passing the 100m Manikato had beaten off Sovereign Red but Lawman was putting in a strong bid. Manikato fought back and was holding Lawman on the line with Sovereign Red third and a huge gap to the rest of the field.
The Chirnside Stakes at Sandown two weeks later was his next start. Manikato was narrowly beaten by Opera Prince but was injured the following Tuesday when he struck himself. The suspensory ligament injury added to the earlier leg problems and following the setback his legs were iced after trackwork and races.
After a spell Manikato returned again in the William Reid Stakes. It was his first run with bandages but it didnít diminish his first up speed. Manikato bounded to the lead but was soon joined by Atlantic Flyer and Yir Tiz followed by Watney , Full on Aces, Silver Bounty and Copper Rocket. Passing the 800m Manikato led Yir Tiz then Atlantic Flyer and Watney. Around the turn Watney and Yir Tiz joined Manikato from Silver Bounty it looked like he may not extend to winning streak in the race to four. By concern was only fleeting as Manikato started to come away on straightening from Watney with Silver Bounty running on. In the run to the line Manikato raced away to win by 1 ľ lengths from Yir Tiz foloowed by Watney & Silver Bounty. Gary Willetts was also back in the saddle are he and Bob Hoysted had overcome their disagreement.
Four weeks later Manikato lined up in the Futurity Stakes trying for his fourth consecutive win in the race. He raced on the fence behind Soldier of Fortune & Tower Belle with Galleon on his outside holding him in a pocket. On straightening Galleon took off with Manikato having to wait to get clear to make his run. Once clear Manikato raced after Galleon who started to drift out into Manikatoís running. After changing course to the inside Manikato charged home but couldnít catch Galleon in time. Garry Willetts lodged a protest but it was soon dismissed.
On to Sydney and the Canterbury Stakes two weeks later. Ubetido led Manikato around the turn from Opera Prince and Swift Gun. Past the 200m Manikato drew to the front and slowly increased the margin over his rivals defeating Opera Prince and Ubetido. But then his legs starting to cause concern again it was another 5 weeks before Manikato raced again. In the All Aged Stakes he was an easily beaten third behind My Gold Hope and pulled up sore. Soon there were again calls for Manikato to be retired but they were ignored by connections who spelled the gelding in preparation for the spring.