Danny O’Brien’s dual Group 1 winner Shamrocker heads the list of 2011 Memsie Stakes nominations for this Saturday, the Melbourne Cup-bound mare kicking off her spring carnival preparation at Caulfield against some top-class competitors.
O’Reilly four-year-old Shamrocker has come a long way since she ran seventh in the Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) on Memsie Stakes Day 12 months ago.
After her gallant second to Brazilian Pulse in the Crown Oaks at Flemington last Melbourne Cup Carnival, Shamrocker proved her potential as one of Australia’s best staying mares during the autumn when she claimed the prestigious Australian Guineas – Australian Derby double.
She was last seen finishing runner-up to Absolutely, also nominated for the Memsie Stakes this weekend, in the Group 1 AJC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 16.
O’Brien is confident she is ready to resume for the season as she prepares to go all the way to the 2011 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday November 1.
“Her preparation so far has been absolutely perfect, so let’s hope it continues right the way through,” O’Brien said of the $1.96 million earner Shamrocker.
“We’ll see how she stacks up in the weight-for-age races.
“She will only have four runs before the Melbourne Cup.”
Her two sensational classic wins last season have seen Shamrocker installed as the $13 second favourite in the early Melbourne Cup betting markets, trailing only the Peter Moody-trained Lights Of Heaven ($11).
While O’Brien holds plenty of early optimism that the $6 million Melbourne Cup is the ideal race for Shamrocker, he knows that her first-up run in the Memsie Stakes is just the start and he isn’t expecting the world from her on Saturday when she runs under weight-for-age conditions for the first time.
“The Memsie is obviously not a big spring target, being 1400 metres at Caulfield first-up,” O’Brien said.
“While I’m certainly not expecting that she will win, it is the right stepping stone for a race like the 1800-metre Underwood where, second-up she should be able to challenge.”
The $350,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) is scheduled for Caulfield on September 17.
O’Brien said Shamrocker had come back in unfaultable condition having put on the right amount of weight and grown in not only strength, but maturity and ability making her a lethal staying weapon this spring.
“I’ve always believed she will be better as a four-year-old or even older as she has still some maturing to do,” O’Brien said.
“So, when you consider what she did as a three-year-old in winning the Guineas and Derby, you can certainly look forward to the spring and beyond with some confidence.
“She’s going super.
“She’s had one trial at Flemington and came across to Moonee Valley and galloped last week.”
Jockey Mark Zahra is being tipped as the likely replacement rider for Shamrocker in the Memsie Stakes as her regular hoop, Glen Boss, honours his commitment to ride Anthony Cummings’ exciting three-year-old Smart Missile in the $125,000 Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) over in Sydney on Saturday.
There were 22 horses nominated for the $200,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) this year, and along with Shamrocker other top-rated entries include Peter Moody’s Caulfield Guineas winner Anacheeva, Crown Oaks champion Brazilian Pulse, Mick Price’s talented six-year-old Heart Of Dreams and last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday.
View the full list of Memsie Stakes’ nominations below and stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest news on the race as well as the final field and barrier draw released on Wednesday.
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2011 Memsie Stakes Nominations
|2||ALANDI (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||114|
|3||ANACHEEVA||Peter G Moody||108|
|4||ANUDJAWUN (NZ)||Shaun Dwyer||89|
|5||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||105|
|6||BRAZILIAN PULSE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||105|
|8||HEART OF DREAMS||Mick Price||115|
|9||HERCULIAN PRINCE (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||106|
|10||KING’S ROSE (NZ)||Peter G Moody||96|
|11||LADY LYNETTE||David & Scott Brunton||106|
|13||LUEN YAT FOREVER||Peter G Moody||102|
|14||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|15||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||112|
|16||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart Cummings||109|
|17||PRINCE OBAMA||Jason Clifford||89|
|18||RED COLOSSUS||Greg Eurell||101|
|19||REKINDLED INTEREST||Jim Conlan||100|
|20||SHAMROCKER (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||112|
|21||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||92|
|22||VIGOR (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||109|