Manila Knight became a ‘Sir’ of the staying scene with a brave frontrunning display in tonight’s Group 1 Bold Trease final (715m) at Sandown Park.
Trained at Tuerong by Mario Briganti, Manila Knight defeated a star-studded field and took out a $105,000 first prize.
Owned by Phillip Smith in Benowa, Qld, Manila Knight (May ’18 Barcia Bale x Angie Rocks) notched his 15th win from 36 starts. His earnings spiralled to $165,020. It was his seventh win in nine starts from Box 8.
Manila Knight ($6.70) was stalked twice in the closing stages by favourite Houdini Boy but eventually staved off fast-finishing SA staying supremo Sir Truculent ($11.10) by 0.64L, with Houdini Boy ($2.90F) a further 0.52L away third in 41.66sec.
It was an emotional Briganti who caught up with Sky Channel’s Jason Bonnington after the race: “I spoke to the owner on Saturday morning (following his heat) and said this dog’s going to struggle to get there. He pulled up as flat as he’s ever pulled up. It took him until Sunday to even look half right. I had some ‘bloods’ done on Monday and Wednesday and the bloods on Monday were all up.”
WATCH: Manila Knight (8) assumed control early on before showing enormous resilience to absorb pressure from Houdini Boy (6) and Sir Truculent (7) to take out the Bold Trease.
Briganti added that he “originally wrote him off”. “I even rang the stewards up, saying there’s a chance this dog comes out.”
And he paid tribute to his partner Deborah Mowat, along with his father-in-law and mother-in-law. “He’s got there, hard work, it’s paid off.”
Racecaller James Van de Maat post-race said: “He just pinned the ears back; he was really able to dig the heels in going off the back. I thought he was done and dusted, so a real credit to him. He had the will to chase and the will to win, and a credit to Mario Briganti as well.”
In the lead-up to the Bold Trease series, Manila Knight smashed Shepparton’s 650-metre track record. He clocked a stunning 36.88sec – carving almost two lengths off the 36.99sec mark set by Pepper Shiraz on April 19, 2018.
Manila Knight is a descendant of Briganti’s foundation brood matron Punk Rock Lass (May ’08 Vapour Whirl x Punk Portrait), who has left an enduring legacy.
His dam, Angie Rocks (by Kinloch Brae), is a daughter of Punk Rock Lass and a litter sister of Rhonda Rocks. She won 13 races from 40 starts and was runner-up in both the 2015 G1 Sapphire Crown and 2015 G3 SA Oaks. And Rhonda Rocks produced retired superstar Sennachie.
Briganti finished third with Hot Tip in the 2018 Bold Trease.