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Menari favourite for Randwick and Canberra

Menari’s dominant barrier trial win on a heavy track has him primed for all possibilities this weekend.

The Gerald Ryan-trained colt is favourite for both the Todman Stakes and Black Opal as he heads towards the Golden Slipper.

The Todman is scheduled for Randwick on Saturday with trainers and officials alike on weather watch with the forecast for more rain in Sydney on top of a wet week.

The Black Opal Stakes at Canberra on Sunday is expected to be run on a firmer surface with Menari’s stablemates Chauffeur and Trapeze Artist also in the field.

Menari was unlucky when he ran second to Pariah in the Canonbury Stakes on January 28 but put in a sparkling performance in the wet to win a barrier trial by 5-1/2 lengths at Rosehill last week.

“The preference for Menari is the Todman but he is in at Canberra just in case,” Ryan said.

“His trial was really good on the wet track. It was very pleasing and now we know he can handle it.

Menari is the $8 equal second favourite alongside Houtzen for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 18.

She Will Reign is the clear Slipper favourite at $2.80 and will run in the Reisling Stakes at Randwick as the $1.50 market leader.

Contingency plans for Randwick include transferring Saturday’s meeting to early next week if the deluge arrives.

The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Gunnison has been taken out of the Black Opal in favour of the Todman whenever it is run.

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