A field of just seven sprinters will line up in Saturday’s Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
Last-start Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) winner Imperatriz will start as an odds-on favourite in Saturday’s $2 million event and has drawn perfectly in barrier four under Opie Bosson.
The Mark Walker-trained mare will look to become the first sprinter since Spinning Hill in 2002 to complete the Manikato Stakes and Moir Stakes double, which would make her just the third horse to ever do so.
I Am Me bounced back to form with victory in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) on October 14 and will be having just her second start at Group 1 level.
James McDonald is set to partner the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained mare, who brings a formidable record of four wins from six starts at 1200m, albeit in weaker company.
Uncommon James, with Damien Lane in the saddle, will meet Imperatriz once again, having been beaten by 2.25 lengths when the pair met in the Moir Stakes on September 29.
Since that clash, the Queenslander has gone on to run second to Asfoora in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m).
Having been beaten by 3.5 lengths in The Everest (1200m), Buenos Noches will be looking to break his Group 1 maiden at his fourth time of asking.
Blake Shinn will partner the four-year-old, with trainer Matthew Smith no doubt wanting rain to hit The Valley as his sprinter prefers the sting out of the ground.
The Inferno, Jigsaw and I Am War round out the field and are all expected to jump at a big price in Saturday’s Group 1 co-feature on Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley.
Manikato Stakes 2023 field