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Mick Price’s dual Group 1 winner Heart Of Dreams has opened favourite to win the premier event on the Caulfield race card this Saturday, the $200,000 Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
The 13-horse 2011 Memsie Stakes field features a plenitude of topliners, but it is Show A Heart six-year-old Heart Of Dreams who has opened top of the odds at Luxbet paying $3.80.
Drawn in barrier five and due to be ridden by Damien Oliver, Heart Of Dreams resumes after a three and a half month spell, most recently having run a close fourth behind Chris Waller’s star import My Kingdom Of Fife in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 7.
Heart Of Dreams has a solid first-up record over the Memsie Stakes distance and after pleasing Price in a recent Cranbourne trial, looks on track to kick off a spring campaign targeting the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
“He’s got a good record over 1400 metres at Caulfield and I expect him to run really well,” Price said earlier this week.
“He’s nominated for the Cox Plate. However, he’s failed at that before so we’d need to see him going at his best.”
The failed Cox Plate bid Price referred to was Heart Of Dreams’ seventh place finish behind So You Think in the 2009 edition of the famous weight-for-age feature.
Heart Of Dreams is currently rated a $35 chance in the Luxbet futures Cox Plate betting markets.
This year, however, will be Heart Of Dreams’ first Memsie Stakes starts and selecting it as a campaign kick-off could prove a winning move from Price as seven of the past 11 Cox Plate winners came via a run in the Memsie.
[lbtext=”Seven of the past 11 Cox Plate winners have come via the Memsie so check Luxbet for doubles markets on these two features”]
Starting the race favourite could also be in Heart Of Dreams’ favour as seven of the last 11 Memsie Stakes favourites have come good for the punters.
Three other horses in the Memsie Stakes field have opened at single-figure odds to win through Luxbet with Jim Conlan’s Redoute’s Choice four-year-old Rekindled Interest ($4.60), the Peter Moody-trained Kiwi import Kings Rose ($4.80) and 2011 Melbourne Cup-bound Shamrocker ($7.50).
Despite being a dual classics winner thanks to her awesome Australian Guineas – Australian Derby double success last season, the Danny O’Brien-trained Shamrocker has the odds against her to win the Memsie first-up on Saturday.
In the past three decades, just two four-year-old mares have saluted in the Memsie Stakes with Miss Finland (2007) and Magical Miss (2002).
The daughter of O’Reilly is heading towards both the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Cox Plate next month, with O’Brien tipping her to be at peak fitness for her ultimate aim, the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“She’s not a particularly robust type, although she has definitely strengthened up since the autumn,” O’Brien said.
“It might seem strange to say she has been immature when you look at her record and she has an Australian Guineas and AJC Derby win.
“She doesn’t take much to come to hand and she has been ready to go for the past two weeks.
“But we picked the Memsie as an ideal race to start her countdown to the Melbourne Cup.”
Australia’s leading bookmaker Luxbet has Shamrocker as the $10 second favourite behind Lights Of Heaven in their 2011 Melbourne Cup ante-post odds.
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