The Michael Freedman-trained Manaal emerged victorious in the 2024 Sweet Embrace Stakes, securing her place in the prestigious Golden Slipper Stakes on March 23rd.

Manaal wins the 2024 Sweet Embrace Stakes

Manaal wins the 2024 Sweet Embrace Stakes for the punters on way to the Group 1 Golden Slipper. Photo: Steve Hart.

This win marks Manaal’s second career victory, following her Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes win last year.

Today’s performance follows closely behind her impressive runner-up finish to Lady Of Camelot in the Group 3 Widden Stakes, which was further strengthened by Lady Of Camelot’s strong second-place finish in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes last weekend.

Jockey Tommy Berry navigated Manaal expertly, settling her mid-field and taking control with a powerful surge in the straight.

She displayed impressive resilience, holding off the fast-finishing Fly Fly to secure victory.

While facing stiff competition from the undefeated colt Storm Boy, the current Golden Slipper favourite, Manaal has proven her capabilities.

“I jumped well but jumped a bit too well. She’s a filly that you don’t want to ask her a question because you’ll get a pretty good answer and it isn’t always the one you want,” Berry told the media post-victory.

“She wears her heart on her sleeve. It was a good run today. She jumped better than I expected and she wanted to be a little bit closer than I wanted her to be.

“I don’t know whether she’s a 12 or 1300-metre horse yet so I didn’t really want to ask her the question and then get her to try and relax.

“I rode her quieter today, got her to relax and banked on her turn-of-foot and her quality as well.

“Going into this race we thought she was a class above and the proved that today.

“She did a good job today, picked them up quick and was a class above them. They’re not the best we’ve seen (so far) heading into a Slipper.

“She gave me a very similar feel to what She’s Extreme did and she won – I think – a week out from the Slipper. Then she was unlucky in the Slipper, second in the Sires’ and then won the Champagne.

“She gives me that sort of feel. I know she won well today but I think the two-year-olds she was up against might not be as strong as what the colts were today.

“If she went that way (towards the Golden Slipper), she’d be very competitive and she feels to me that once she gets up further she might be better suited.”   

She will strive to become the first horse since Fireburn (2022) to achieve the Sweet Embrace Stakes – Golden Slipper Stakes double, with her all-in odds currently sitting at $17 through Ladbrokes.

2024 Sweet Embrace Stakes Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 1 MANAAL Michael Freedman Tommy Berry 6 55.5kg $2.05F
2 11 FLY FLY Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Jason Collett 1.17L 11 55.5kg $7
3 6 EXTREME DIVA Anthony Cummings Chad Schofield 2.32L 12 55.5kg $13
4 4 CHATEAU MIRAVAL Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Tim Clark 3.03L 7 55.5kg $5.50
5 12 DIDDLE DUMPLING Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou Regan Bayliss 3.43L 2 55.5kg $41
6 3 TOTOKA Paul Perry Dylan Gibbons (a) 3.89L 9 55.5kg $21
7 5 PHOTOGRAPHICS (NZ) John Sargent Kerrin McEvoy 4.7L 3 55.5kg $13
8 9 VALABING David Payne Adam Hyeronimus 6.48L 10 55.5kg $91
9 7 WAVE BREAKER Peter & Paul Snowden Tyler Schiller 7.94L 4 55.5kg $8.50
10 10 ASTERIDE Robert & Luke Price Ashley Morgan 10.55L 8 55.5kg $101
11 13 MONTANA DAWN John Thompson Reece Jones 10.65L 5 55.5kg $101
12 14 ZOUNAKA John Thompson Tom Marquand 11.85L 1 55.5kg $71
8 DRIFTING Peter & Paul Snowden Tom Sherry 0
2 CASTANYA Annabel Neasham Zac Lloyd (a) 0

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

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About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.