Manawanui Wins 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap

September 20th, 2014

Classy six-year-old Manawanui has displayed an exceptional turn of foot at Royal Randwick this afternoon, charging home late to win the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) ahead of Rock Sturdy and Tougher Than Ever.

Manawanui has secured an exceptional first-up victory in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap

Manawanui has secured an exceptional first-up victory in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap. Photo: Steve Hart

Jumping from the gates well, Manawanui settled in ideal position on the heels of early leaders Aussies Love Sport, Pheidon and Monton, who set a noticeably quick tempo over the back straight and rounding the bend.

Finding the final straight blocked for a run, jockey Tye Angland steered the Oratorio gelding to the rails and pushed past the Waterhouse pair, locking in a sprint battle with punters’ pick Rock Sturdy and poking clear in the final 50m.

Trainer Ron Leemon was understandably thrilled with Manawanui’s performance in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap, complementing the fortitude of the horse and connections in returning from nearly a year on the sidelines this afternoon.

“Amazing, a lot of hard work and gets you a bit emotional,” Leemon said immediately after the race.

“The owners stuck by me and I appreciate that.

“He had a nice, soft run which I thought if he got he’d be right in it, and a great ride by Tye.

“I said to the owners he’s the best horse in the field but I think he’s just a little bit soft, underdone and if we get the soft run we’ll be there somewhere in the end.”

Tye Angland delivered an exceptional ride on Manawanui in the 2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap, and was quick to praise Leemon’s training efforts in returning his classy partner in prime condition.

“Absolutely gun trainer performance – with some first-up 1400s it’s not easy, espcilaly a horse that’s coming off injury so full credit to the team,” Angland said following the Bill Ritchie Handicap.

“It got a little bit tight up the straight for me, but he’s a gun horse and I had a lap full of horse to get through and he really let down once I got the right run.”

Yet to be confirmed for a specific racing path beyond today’s Bill Ritchie Handicap victory, Manawanui has now secured a commendable total of seven wins and four minors from just 19 competitive starts.

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2014 Bill Ritchie Handicap Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Starting Price
1 2 MANAWANUI Ron Leemon Tye Angland 2 58kg $18
2 5 ROCK STURDY Joseph Pride Corey Brown 0.2L 7 54kg $2.60F
3 4 TOUGHER THAN EVER (NZ) Chris Waller Tim Clark 3.2L 6 54kg $7
4 7 PHEIDON Gai Waterhouse James McDonald 3.6L 1 54kg $5
5 1 MONTON Ron Quinton Sam Clipperton 4.5L 3 59kg $6.50
6 3 RIVA DE LAGO Chris Waller Jim Cassidy 5.1L 5 57kg $8
7 6 AUSSIES LOVE SPORT Gai Waterhouse Kerrin McEvoy 5.8L 4 54kg $10