A final field of 11 top gallopers is accepted to face off in the feature race of the weekend, Melbourne’s 2014 Memsie Stakes kicking off Group 1 racing in Australia for the new season.
Running as Caulfield Race 8 at 4:40pm on Saturday the $400,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) is a star-studded affair this year and features a total of six individual Group 1 winners.
Leading the field, where Ladbrokes.com.au punters can place a stress free thanks to a Money Back Bonus Bet offer if your selection runs second, is the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails who ran second to Shamus Award in the Cox Plate last spring.
This year the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 25 is again on the agenda for the Good Journey seven-year-old who missed the autumn with injury.
Happy Trails returned to racing in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) in Adelaide on August 9 and ran fifth with room for improvement second-up over more distance back in Melbourne.
He pays $17 in the latest Cox Plate odds at Ladbrokes.com.au that are led by Silent Achiever on $11.
Michael Rodd is booked for the ride on Happy Trails in the Memsie, the duo drawn well in gate two, with the horse’s regular rider last season Dwayne Dunn committed to ride for Team Hawkes.
Roger James’s four time Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Silent Achiever meanwhile also runs in Saturday’s Memsie Stakes, the six-year-old daughter of O’Reilly first-up this campaign.
During the autumn she won a second elite level at home in New Zealand before travelling down under to take out the Ranvet Stakes – The BMW double in Sydney with Nash Rawiller aboard.
Rawiller is currently riding in Japan allowing for Damien Oliver to jump aboard for the weekend before the former, who begins a Hong Kong riding stint next month, is clear to reunite with her throughout the spring.
Working well leading up to her first-up run where she shoots for her first win at the track in her fourth Rosehill run, Silent Achiever is targeting the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) as her grand final race this season.
The next shortest priced of the Cox Plate-bound gallopers using the Memsie as a stepping stone is then the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Messene ($21) who will be ridden by Dunn from barrier four.
Winner of the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) in Sydney back in March, six-year-old Lonhro gelding Messene ran an eye-catching first-up second to Sweet Idea in the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on August 9.
His second run was also scheduled for Sydney last week in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) however a Heavy track saw connections scratch him from the race.
The Memsie then is Plan B for Messene, whose weight-for-age form isn’t yet known, along with fellow Warwick Stakes withdrawals Boban and Sweet Idea.
Triple Group 1 winner Boban is the only chance for Chris Waller in the Memsie Stakes field, Glyn Schofield to ride the Bernardini gelding from barrier nine.
He ran fourth first-up in the Missile Stakes and has a nice 1400m record with four wins and two seconds form nine starts over the distance.
Gai Waterhouse’s Missile Stakes winner Sweet Idea meanwhile has drawn gate 10 for the weekend with Craig Newitt taking over for Tommy Berry who is riding in Sydney this weekend.
Newitt rode Sweet Idea in a track gallop earlier in the week and was talking up the Snitzel mare’s chances for the weekend immediately after.
The only trainer with dual Memsie Stakes acceptors this year meanwhile is Peter Moody with Moment Of Change and Dissident.
Moment Of Change is sure to jump favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au being a three time Group 1 winner over the track and distance including the CF Orr Stakes – Futurity Stakes double here back in February.
The Barley A Moment gelding lost first-up a fortnight ago at the track when second to Hard Stride in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) but did give the winner an eight kilo weight advantage when carrying the 62kg top weight, Saturday’s WFA conditions then to suit as well the extra metres.
Dissident is also a Group 1 winner for Moody, the Sebring four-year-old having won the Randwick Guineas over the mile in March.
He hasn’t raced since a 12th in the wet behind Sacred Falls in the Doncaster Mile on April 12 but does have good first-up form (3-1-2-0) and shouldn’t be discounted here.
See below for the full Memsie Stakes 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Memsie Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 8 (4:40pm) – 30/08/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||03x57412x5||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Michael Rodd||2||59kg||114|
|2||11x54170x4||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||9||59kg||116|
|3||432x2110x2||MOMENT OF CHANGE||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||8||59kg||111|
|4||11x349359x||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||Glen Boss||7||59kg||112|
|5||21x235443x||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards & Bruce Elkington||Craig Williams||11||59kg||105|
|6||x1x12720x6||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||1||59kg||111|
|7||1x11x117x2||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||4||59kg||107|
|8||264x21160x||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||5||58.5kg||107|
|9||668x11114x||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||Damien Oliver||3||57kg||116|
|10||2263308323||GIG||Shawn Mathrick||Vlad Duric||6||57kg||92|
|11||2x111729x1||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||Craig Newitt||10||56.5kg||110|