The Manikato Stakes is a Gr 1 Australian weight-for-age horse
race for thoroughbreds contested over 1200m in September every year
at Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne. The race currently offers
a purse of just over AUD$400,000 and was inaugurated in 1968 as the
In 1984, the race's name was changed to the Manikato Stakes, in
honor of talented gelding Manikato. Bought for just AUD$3,500,
Manikato become one of the best sprinters in Australia in the late
1970s and early 1980s. During his illustrious career, he notched up
an impressive ten Gr 1 and fourteen Gr 2 victories.
Not only did Manikato win this race in 1979 and 1982 (then the
Freeway Stakes), but he also triumphed in the prestigious William
Reid Stakes (now known as the Australia Stakes) a record five
consecutive times from 1979 to 1983. Retired in 1983, Manikato was
sadly euthanized the following year due to ill-health.
Since its inception, the Manikato Stakes has risen through the ranks
to become one of the most important fixtures on Moonee Valley's race
calendar. Up until 1972, the race was run over 6 furlongs. In 1978
it was run as principal race, in 1979 it was granted a Gr 2 status,
and in 1989 granted its Gr 1 status.
Signaling the start of Melbourne's spring Gr 1 racing, the Mankato
Stakes has been won by many wonderful thoroughbreds, including Vain
in 1969, Strawberry Road in 1983, Sunline in 2000, Miss Andretti in
2006 and Typhoon Zed in 2008.