IT was only a short mouthful, but Jonathan Riddell's words said plenty.
"Let's hope he's not just a mudder," said Riddell seconds after climbing off beautifully-bred $50,000 Ryder Stakes winner Manhattan Street.
Yes, it certainly would be a good result for the team because trainer Lisa Latta said yesterday the Victoria Derby on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival is a probable target.
Manhattan Street is unbeaten in three starts, all over 1200m and all on heavy (11) tracks, but Latta is confident at least that getting the colt up in distance will not be an issue.
"I believe he'll run up over 2000m and further."
Although wet tracks are not unknown for the Melbourne Cup Carnival and particularly Derby Day, the odds are against it. Who could forget the Murray and Bjorn Baker-trained Lion Tamer and Hugh Bowman winning the 2010 Victoria Derby in rain so dense the field was impossible to see down the back straight from the grandstand.
Jonathan Riddell did the right thing taking Manhattan Street into the lead from the start, avoiding the water and mud kickback the second half of the field had to contend with. As a result it took little encouragement to get the unbeaten youngster to a clear margin.
Cortado, half the size of Manhattan Street, put up a brave fight at the 300m, but with size making a difference, she could not sustain the effort, but her second was a sound effort.
Impulsive Habit finished third and fourth was Mongolian Wolf, certainly the worst affected by the terrible kickback at the 600m to the home bend and the back of the field.
He had blinkers applied for the first time and the torrential rain could not have produced a worst result. Mongolian Wolf couldn't cope at the 600m and dropped back to last after having improved a few places.
"He was completely lost," said rider Masa Tanaka. But once in the home straight with no horses directly ahead and therefor no kickback, the colt made up good ground.
"He was going nowhere, but he got galloping again passing the 200m and his finish was excellent," said Tanaka.
"I tried to stir him up and get him switched on at the start, but he is such a laid-back colt he was just casual out of the gates. He will make a good 3-year-old and 4-year-old and over more ground."
• Sick of watching horses ploughing through mud?
Well, it's turn the page day.
August 1, the first day of the 2016-17 racing season. And the racing coming up could not be more appropriate. Saturday saw mudfests at Rotorua and Otaki, with the latter able to get through six races before abandonment, but better is to come.
This Saturday we have the country's best wet weather racetrack - Ruakaka - and the following Saturday the second best at Te Rapa, with the bonus of the $100,000 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate.
Following the Pakuranga Hunt at Ellerslie is the $200,000 Makfi Stakes at Hastings and the season is well under way.
Some of the stars that will run in those features will be seen out at tomorrow's Te Teko barrier trials..