Manuel goes to another level with gallant Orr display

4 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Manuel (Commands) earned a gold star for bravery when he dented a number of reputations with a tenacious front-running performance to post a career-high performance at Caulfield.

The 5-year-old had been tried in black type company three times previously with a best result of a Listed success in the Kilmore Cup before going to a whole new level on Saturday with an upset victory in the G1 CF Orr S.

It was a performance unexpected by most, as his pre-race double figure odds suggested, but the Tony McEvoy stable have had unwavering faith in the gelding and to them it wasn’t a shock result.

“He’s a horse we’ve always had so much time for and he’s done a few things wrong in the past,” the trainer’s son Calvin said. “During his last preparation he raced so consistently.”

“He’s a horse we’ve always had so much time for and he’s done a few things wrong in the past.” – Calvin McEvoy.

Manuel, a Benchmark 84 winner on his last visit to Caulfield in the spring, dictated terms at the head of affairs and McEvoy said the gelding was best served in that role.

“He came here as an obvious outsider and he went to the front and controlled the race and was so strong through the line.

“He likes to roll along and he’s quite a strong horse. When he gets back and cluttered up between runners he loses all momentum.”

Manuel's winning connections

McEvoy is now hoping Manuel’s courageous performance has caught the attention of the public and the votes roll in for inclusion in the $5 million All-Star Mile.

“He likes to roll along and he’s quite a strong horse.” – Calvin McEvoy.

“He’s got the talent. That’s the one we want and hopefully for those watching they get him in,” he said.

Manuel was a $240,000 purchase for McEvoy Mitchel Racing at the 2015 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale where he was offered by Segenhoe Stud.

He is a son of the Listed Daybreak Lover S. winner and G3 Research S. runner-up Girl Hussler (Hussonet {USA}). All four of her foals to race have been successful and include the G3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic winner Taking Aim (Choisir) and the black type placegetter Witherspoon (Exceed And Excel).

Manuel as a yearling

The family also sports an international flavour through the South African Group winners Hancock Park (NZ) (Pompeii Court {USA}) and her daughter Park Lane (SAF) (Elliodor {SAF}).

“Tony and all the staff have been a great asset to my career.” - Luke Currie.

Manuel has regularly been ridden in more recent times by Luke Currie, who has formed a strong and successful bond with the stable.

“They certainly have been very good to me. Tony and all the staff have been a great asset to my career,” he said.

“He’s a free-going type and he has won from the back, but he’s much better on the speed.

“He got caught wide at the Valley last time and he got softened up a bit early in front this time, but he came back to me nicely.

“He’s a free-going type and he has won from the back, but he’s much better on the speed.” – Luke Currie.

“He gave a really good kick off the corner and I knew he would be hard to run down. He’s a tough horse.”

Luke Currie returns to scale with Manuel

Manuel wouldn’t be denied and he proved too strong for Land Of Plenty (Stratum) and the favourite Kementari (Lonhro), who had his chance.

“He was a pair further back than we wanted to be,” Land Of Plenty’s co-trainer Ciaron Maher said. “The track played a bit toward the forward half.

“I thought he was super and the Futurity S. will be his next start and he’ll be spot on for that.”