Remember Manhattan Rain?
A lot of horses are technically ‘well bred’ and one stallion currently at stud in Australia who is brilliantly bred as Manhattan Rain. This boy was born for a life at stud such is the quality of his blood. He is by Encosta de Lago who is the second most successful modern day sire Australia has seen after Redoute’s Choice. But speaking of Redoute’s Choice, Manhattan Rain is out of his mother. It is almost as if this stallion has the best of both worlds running through his blood. By Encosta but a half to Redoute’s. It simply does not get any better than that.
It is one thing to be brilliantly bred but it is another thing to be successful on the track. With all the champions and all the champion colts especially that Gai has produced, Manhattan Rain sometimes get overlooked despite having had a brilliant race track career. On the track the stallion only missed a place twice in his 11 start career and these two races were the last two of his career when he was already thinking about the lovely paddocks at Arrowfield Stud.
Unlike many of Gai’s two-year-old colts, Manhattan Rain started his career in the summer well after the Breeders’ Plate had been run and won. The colt finished 2nd on debut before finishing 2nd in the Listed Cannonbury at his second start. After a freshen-up, Gai aimed the blue blood at the Triple Crown for two-year-olds. Manhattan Rain won the Skyline for the colts and geldings before finishing 3rd in the Slipper on the heaviest track perhaps the Slipper has ever been run on. There has not been a slower Slipper run since such was the heaviness of the track on this autumn day in Sydney 2009. After the Slipper, Manhattan Rain backed up two weeks later in the Sires’ and won the 1400m Classic effortlessly by 1.5 lengths. A week later on another heavy track in the Champagne Stakes, the colt finished 3rd. It is very rare for a colt to place in all three Triple Crown races; it is even rarer for a colt to win one of the great races and place in the other two. There is no doubt that Manhattan Rain was a brilliant two-year-old but it was as a three-year-old where he really made his name; this despite not winning a race at three!
Not many Sydney horses handle Caulfield at the first attempt, and there is a chance Manhattan Rain did not either, but at his first start as a three-year-old, the colt ran a terrific 3rd in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude; he was beaten just a few inches and was clearly the best run in this particular race. From here Gai knew she had a Cox Plate horse. How you may ask? The Lady Trainer knew she had a colt that once balanced, could run all day and had a turn of speed. At this stage the colt would have been 100-1 in the Cox Plate, but Gai simply went about her business knowing the colt was qualified for the WFA Championship of Australasia as he was already a Group 1 winner at two. But before the Cox Plate, there was the small issue of the Caulfield Guineas. Only one horse has ever won the Caulfield Guineas and the Cox Plate in one year, the champion TJ Smith trained Red Anchor. It took the internationally renowned superstar Starbanglebanner to again vanquish Manhattan Rain to the placings, but not all was lost. This was another great run and exactly what Gai wanted to see heading towards the colt’s grand final, the Cox Plate.
All went to plan on Cox Plate, all bar the fact that the best male horse Australia had seen since Northerly was in the field. Rounding the home turn, the two three-year-olds Manhattan Rain and a giant colt named So You Think were going stride for stride. But So You Think was simply too good and he won the great race nicely. Starbangledbanner went to England after defeating Manhattan Rain in the Guineas and went on to win multiple Group 1 races abroad. So You Think won the following year’s Cox Plate before becoming one of the great WFA champions England and Ireland has seen in the last ten years.
In another year, Manhattan Rain would have been a champion of champions but that is how the cookie crumbles. It took champions to beat the now stallion and never once did he give up in his races. With just a few crops on the ground, the stallion still has his best siring days ahead and nowhere in the world will you find a better bred / better performed stallion.