A stirring win by Not An Option in the A$175,000 Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m) at Flemington was the icing on the cake of a spectacular New Year’s Day for his part-owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay.
The Cambridge Stud couple’s black and gold colours had previously been carried two a pair of Group Two successes at Pukekohe. About Time delivered a fitting victory in the Sir Patrick Hogan Stakes (2050m), which was previously known as the Royal Stakes and has this year been renamed in honour of the legendary former owner of the world-renowned stud. Habana later added a thrilling last-stride victory in the Rich Hill Mile (1600m).
Just like Habana earlier in the afternoon, Not An Option had to dig deep in a tight finish to earn his spoils at Flemington.
After sitting in behind the front-running Struck By, Not An Option and jockey Michael Dee moved away from the fence at the home turn and began to lodge a challenge.
Not An Option built up his momentum and surged past Struck By just inside the 200m mark, but Who Dares and Jye McNeil were coming with him in between the pair. The two set down to fight out a head-bobbing battle to the finish, and Not An Option called on all his fighting qualities to just prevail.
“It was lucky that my horse had the real will to win,” Dee said. “At the end of the day, Jye would have outridden me in that race, so it was lucky that my horse was able to get his head over the line in front.
“At the top of the straight, I could see that Jye was starting to come through quite quickly inside me. I was a bit slow to get across and shut the gate. When you’re in that position, you’re always in two minds – whether to try and keep your horse balanced, or whether to shut the gate. I ended up half-pie doing both.
“Once Jye got the run, it was a matter of keeping my horse at his peak and keeping him balanced. He won well.”
The Mike Moroney-trained Not An Option has now had 33 starts for seven wins and four placings, earning A$638,296 in stakes. He is now a three-time winner over 1400m at Flemington.
“I rode him at Caulfield a couple of starts ago, behind the pace, and he just didn’t have a strong turn of foot that day,” Dee said. “When he’s won here, he’s been able to find his top gear at the top of the straight. That’s probably why he goes well here – it’s not sit-sprint, and he’s allowed that time to go through his gears, find his peak and keep running strongly to the line.”
A son of Not A Single Doubt, Not An Option commenced his career for trainer Tony Pike in New Zealand, for whom he was a Group Two-winning juvenile.
Pike went to $240,000 to purchase Not An Option from the draft of Curraghmore at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale.
Not An Option is out of Chintz, who Pike trained to six wins including the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m), backed up by placings in the Gr.1 Easter Handicap (1600m) and Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m). – NZ Racing Desk.