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Manikato resumed in the Freeway Stakes in late August over 1200m at Moonee Valley. Drawn wide Manikato had to work to get across and finally hit the lead by the 800m where he headed Segovian Rhythm and Qubeau. By the 400m Manikato was joined by Segovian Rhythm from Bold Jet, Bold Prospect and Qubeau. Segovian Rhythm got a half length ahead of Manikato turning for home with Qubeau moving out for his run. Manikato fought back to regain the lead by length from Segovian Rhythm as Qubeau ran on strongly then Lawman. In the final 50m Qubeau stormed home but Manikato held on to win by a half neck with Segovian Rhythm third.
The Memsie Stakes at Caulfield over 1400m was next where Manikato hit the lead around the turn from Qubeau as Galleon challenged on the outside. Over the final 200m Manikato fought back gallantly and was drawing away in the run to the line from Galleon with Lawman a fast finishing third. Manikato was now on the verge of passing the million dollar mark in earnings – only the second horse to do so behind Kingston Town and the first in Victoria. Prizemoney was boosted to ensure a win would to the million for the JF Feehan Stakes but Manikato struggled over the 1600m only finishing third behind Lawman and Binbinga. He then went to the Chirnside three weeks later but again struggled only finishing 6th behind Galleon.
Manikato’s next start was in the AJ Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day in 1982. The crowd had just seen Kingston Town win the Cox Plate and while many hoped Manikato could also do something special the hot favourite was the flashy chestnut Rancher. In the early stages of the 1000m race Addington led Rancher with Manikato outside Razor Sharp. By the 400m Rancher took over from Addington with Manikato making ground around Razor Sharp. In the straight Manikato joined Rancher as Razor Sharp tried to get out of a pocket on the rails. In the final 50m Manikato came away from the opposition to win from Razor Sharp with Avatar third and Rancher fourth. He had finally passed the million dollar mark in earnings in winning his 27th race.
A week later he was third down the Flemington straight in the Pure Pak (now Salinger) Stakes and then ran third to Galleon in the 1400m Linlithgow Stakes on Oaks Days (now run over 1200m on the final day).
Manikato returned in January 1983 for a fifth William Reid Stakes. In 39 degree heat Manikato led Qubeau and Ideal Planet followed by Torbek & Demus then My Evita. By the 600m Manikato led Qubeau then Ideal Planet with Demus wide from Torbek. In the straight Manikato led Qubeau with Demus running on out wide. In the final 50m Manikato kicked back when challenged to withstand the late run from Torbek to win by a half head with the crowd going mad. Manikato had made it an unprecedented five straight wins in the same race.
Three weeks later he ran in the Lightning Stakes down the straight 1000m. By the 200m Manikato was in front but his stablemate Demus was started to make ground. This time Manikato couldn’t hold on and was beaten less than a length.
The Futurity Stakes was to be his final start in Victoria. On settling Manikato led Torbek then Rom’s Stilleto followed by Avatar and Pure of Heart. By the 400m an outsider came from last to pressure Manikato who soon quickened to hold off his rival. On straightening Manikato kicked strongly as Torbek then challenged from from Rom’s Stilleto. Manikato was two lengths clear by the 100m but Avatar was storming home down the outside. It was too late and Manikato went on to win by a length with Torbek third.
Manikato then accompanied stablemate Love A Show to Sydney with Shilo the stable pony taken as a travelling companion for both. Manikato lined up in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill. Manikato was in front turning for home but started to hang out in the straight. Star 3yo filly Emancipation swept up to Manikato and despite the champion fighting back the grey soon hit the front to race away to win by over two lengths with Manikato second and Rare Form third.
Manikato’s legs started to cause problems again and he was scratched from the rest of the carnival. He did parade on Golden Slipper day as stablemate Love A Show ran third in the big race. Manikato was always kept to a routine, even when spelling he was groomed and fed at the same time as in training, but one day in Sydney he turned savage. The stable pony Shilo was sent with Love A Show as she was rushed off to the nearby veterinary hospital for what was ultimately a fatal ailment. Left alone Manikato spent four hours charging around and whinnying in the stable. Bob Hoysted went to straighten his rug and Manikato charged at him with teeth bared. The 16.3hh gelding preferred the company of stable companions Shilo and Scamanda. When at home in Victoria Manikato and Scamanda would polay ‘dare’ in the paddock when it rained. Both would stand out in the rain until one , usually Scamanda, gave in then Manikato would wait a little longer before moving under shelter despite Manikato’s hatred of wet weather.
On the day Manikato left Sydney in 1983 blood was taken for testing and although he had only been in a stable and yard instead of in full work the results came back showing what would be expected from a horse that was overworked. It was assumed it was a sign of home sickness and nothing more.
Manikato did well during his winter spell and returned to the stable to prepare for the spring races. It was soon obvious though that there was some kind of problem as he would be going well then suddenly start to have problems with his hind legs. The problem was causing trouble with the deep flexor tendons in his hind legs. For a long time no amount of testing to find a cause nor a cure as Manikato continued to get worse. In January 1984 he would improve enough to be taken to the track for a walk and pick of grass but within a few days couldn’t move without difficulty a night improving by the morning. Advice and drugs were sought from overseas, naturopaths suggested various treatments and they tried everything in hope that it might turn into a ‘miracle’ cure.
The condition was eventually diagnosed as a form of aluminium poisoning but nothing more could be determined. On February 13 1984 Manikato struggled to get up on his feet in the morning despite the massive amounts of painkillers that were being administered each day. Moved to his day yard for that day it was decided that Manikato was suffering too much and he was put down at 6pm that evening.
Overnight he was buried at Moonee Valley where he had won 8 races including the five William Reid Stakes. The area was turned into ‘Manikato Gardens’ and has picture of Manikato and his race record displayed. In April 1984 it was announced that the Freeway Stakes run in August would re official renamed the Manikato Stakes and in 1989 it was upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 status.
Manikato had 47 starts for 29 wins 9 Seconds and 4 thirds for stakesearnings of $1,154,210. With the exception of Randwick he won at every racetrack he started at including all the metropolitan courses in Melbourne . Manikato won 9 races at Caulfield and 8 at Moonee Valley and was unbeaten in 10 first up runs.
All the racing photos in this report have been sourced for various loose newspaper and magazine clippings with the exception of the photo of Manikato Gardens.
For photos of Manikato please contact Martin King Sportpix