Manabar and Palmer do it easy in Narrabri Cup

Matthew Palmer guides the Michelle Fleming-trained Manabar to victory in Saturday’s Narrabri Cup. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Matthew Palmer enjoyed one of the easiest country cup wins of his career on Saturday when riding the Michelle Fleming-trained Manabar to victory in the $16,000 Narrabri Cup. 

The 1200m feature turned out to be a small field after scratchings, with only five gallopers going around, and Palmer said he was able to get a good sit in behind the pace on Manabar ($2.30), before exploding away to win by 3.64 lengths from the Nicole Shields-trained and Jacob Golden-ridden Delchuzy ($10) in second, while in third was the Gavin Groth-trained and Maddy Owen-ridden Epic Decision ($3.30).

“He bounced out and they ran along really quick sectionals through the middle stages of the race, and we sort of positioned up third and fourth on the fence with the run of the race on the hot speed,” Palmer said. 

“I pulled him out at the 400m, and he lengthened, and he is a horse that likes a bit of room, and he likes some daylight and when we found the front, he really run through the line strongly.

“It was good to see him doing that off the back of taking a sit – it was a good win.”

Manabar – a 67-start veteran – has now won 11 races for connections, but the nine-year-old had finished down the track in recent country cups at Gilgandra, Walcha and Quirindi before his victory at Narrabri. 

“Michelle has done a really good job with him, and I’m absolutely stoked for her and the connections,” Palmer said. 

“It is a race they wanted to win, and I’m glad I could do that for them.

“I get more of a thrill for the connections to be honest, and especially Michelle, because she is one of the nice guys in the game and it’s good to get a win for her.”

Palmer said Manabar’s class shone through in the Narrabri Cup, and he deflected any praise, and was simply happy for connections. 

“He was probably the class runner,” Palmer said. 

“He was coming out of those good races, and Michelle just did a good job with him.”

Narrabri was racing for the first time in three years on Saturday, and Palmer said the club did well to have the track in good condition.

“It was typical dirt racing,” Palmer said. 

“You wanted to be up on the speed and away from the kick-back but in saying that; they did a really good job for a track that hasn’t raced in a couple of years.”

Palmer had a good day at Narrabri, landing a winning double after winning the feature on Manabar, while taking out the 1500m Class One Handicap on the Craig Martin-trained Mondial Express. 

Maddy Owen also rode a double, winning the 1500m Wee Waa Cup on the Todd Payne-trained Trogir and the 1930m Benchmark 50 Handicap on the Wayne Martyn-trained For Da Boys. 

For full Narrabri results, readers can click here