Loving Gaby set to light up the night
TRAINER Ciaron Maher expects smart filly Loving Gaby to bounce back from her last-start defeat in Friday night's Group 1 Manikato Stakes at The Valley.
Loving Gaby was outsprinted as short-priced favourite last start at Caulfield behind California Zimbol, who had an "easy time" on the speed.
The daughter of I Am Invincible will need luck drawn close to the rail in barrier two alongside prized Godolphin sprinter and Manikato favourite Bivouac.
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Maher said Loving Gaby is likely to go back and try to loop the field as she did winning the Group 3 Scarborough Stakes at The Valley last month.
"She showed that she enjoyed the track, she's a big mare but I think she loves the camber," Maher said. "She does lay in a bit under pressure so it suits her and she worked well today."
Loving Gaby worked alongside Dubious at Tuesday's Breakfast with the Best.
Stablemate Dubious was entered for the Manikato but the threat of rain has prompted Maher to bypass the $1m sprint and target the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day.
Maher has booked Craig Williams to ride Loving Gaby at 51kg.
Williams, who will ride three year-old Castelvecchio in Saturday's Cox Plate at 49.5kg, rated the filly a strong chance to win with even luck in the race.
"The race has really got numbers but she's got high quality and she'll acquit herself well," Williams said. "She's quite keen to get on with the job. She's going to be in the right place, just needs a bit of luck late and I know she's the right horse to win."
Loving Gaby remained an $8 second favourite to win the Manikato Stakes, with Bivouac a clear-cut $1.80 hot pot.
Bivouac boasts superior from having beaten dominant Everest winner Yes Yes Yes at his past two starts, including the Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill.
A three year-old sprinter has not won the Manikato since Sepoy throttled rivals in 2011, but Godolphin trainer James Cummings declared Bivouac up to the task.
"We saw a Group 1 performance in him in the Golden Rose and he's had a month between runs to get himself back together and to ensure he's ready for another Group 1 performance," Cummings said.
"His biggest test will be against the older horses and he's got to test his mettle against them.
"It's no easy feat for a three year-old this time of year beating the older horses, but the trainers that tend to choose horses that are capable of it, over the years, their record has been quite good."
MANIKATO STAKES (1200m)
1. ROCK MAGIC C Gangemi J Noske (5) 58.5kg
2. THE BOSTONIAN T Pike D Lane (3) 58.5kg
3. FAATINAH D & B Hayes & T Dabernig J Kah (8) 58.5kg
4. ASHLOR D McCarthy D Stackhouse (7) 58.5kg
5. VITAL SILVER D & B Pearce B Melham (9) 58.5kg
6. TROPE M, W & J Hawkes D Dunn (10) 58.5kg
7. WINTER BRIDE T & T Edmonds T Berry (6) 56.5kg
8. MERYL L Curtis D Yendall (4) 56.5kg
9. BIVOUAC J Cummings K McEvoy (1) 53kg
10. ANAHEED P & P Snowden T Clark (11) 51kg
11. LOVING GABY C Maher & D Eustace C Williams (2) 51kg