Manaya breaks race record with stunning Woodlands Stakes victory

Up-and-coming trainer Michael Costa made it an early treble on Saturday, with two wins coming at Kembla Grange, but his highlight will be the win by Manaya in the Listed $150,000 Woodlands Stakes at Scone.

The impressive daughter of Hinchinbrook was having its first start after two trials, in which it put big margins on its rivals, and that form stood up on race day as Manaya broke the race record in a time of 1.03:98 for the 1100m, running its last 600m in 34.78.

Manaya settled near the tail throughout the run, but the fast tempo set up front allowed the back-markers to stake their claims down the lengthy Scone straight. It didn’t take long for apprentice jockey Lester Grace to press the go button and it went on to score an easy win over Godolphin pair Raiment ($4.20) and Nonpareil ($1.80).

“Very quality horse as we know from the trials,” Grace said who only picked up the ride on Manaya late in the week.

“She’s just a bit slow to jump, but that was a super win.

“Great turn of foot, does it easy.”

Trainer Michael Costa hasn’t made plans for its next run, but he believes the half-sister to Hot Danish will only get better.

“She has just got so much raw ability,” Costa said. “I haven’t done much with her at home. To win like that is phenomenal. She’s just going to get so much better next time.”

Costa didn’t give Grace any strict instructions on how to ride the two-year-old and although not everything went to plan, Grace kept a cool head under pressure.

“I just said to Lester I didn’t want him to find a position, just to let her cruise, he did that perfectly,” Costa said.

“If she’s within six lengths then bring her around them.”

Manaya attracted plenty of support early in the betting and was $3.20 at one stage in the win market. It did, however, drift out to $5.50 at before firming in late to $4.70.

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