This Saturday in Melbourne top hoop Michael Rodd will attempt an historic third straight Memsie Stakes winning ride partnering with last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Happy Trails.
Rodd has been at his best on Memsie Stakes Day at Caulfield over the past two years securing the weight-for-age feature win aboard back-to-back favourites with Sincero (2012) and Atlantic Jewel (2013).
This year he’s on a longer priced shot in the $400,000 Group 1 event over 1400m, partnering with 2012 second past the post Happy Trails.
Paul Beshara’s Good Journey gelding pays $17 in the latest Memsie Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au that are led by the Chris Waller-trained market mover Boban ($4) who is a proven weight-for-age performer coming off a luckless first-up fourth in the Missile Stakes in Sydney.
Happy Trails also ran in last year’s Memsie but could only manage to finish seventh 12 months after his second place.
Rodd though is happy with his mount, also an established WFA galloper drawn in barrier two, and believes he’s a real shot at securing a Memsie Stakes hat-trick.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have good rides in the race the past two years with Atlantic Jewel last year and Sincero in 2012 and I think that Happy Trails is definitely the right sort of horse to get me three-in-a-row,” Rodd told Racing Victoria this week.
“He’s such a consistent, honest horse.
“You know that every time that he turns up to the races that he’s going to give you 110% and there’s not a lot of horses like that.
“He’s the Cox Plate runner-up and also a Turnbull Stakes (2000m) winner so we know he’s got plenty of quality.”
Seven-year-old Happy Trails races second-up for the season following a fifth in his resuming run at Adelaide when beaten five lengths by Riziz in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville on August 9.
On paper that was disappointing but he did keep finding the line that day and will be fitter for the run.
He went on to narrowly lose a 1000m Gawler barrier trial by a nostril flare on August 22 with Troy Baker in the saddle, Rodd coming in for the ride in the season’s opening Group 1 showdown.
Happy Trails has been plagued by injury setbacks over the past season missing out on the autumn after pulling up lame following his close second to Shamus Award in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last October.
Before that he was in flying form too winning the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) over one-time Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance de Lune who also runs in Saturday’s Memsie Stakes field as an $11 shot from barrier one.
The Turnbull was Happy Trail’s second Group 1 win too after taking out the 2012 Emirates Stakes, again narrowly, at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival two years back.
Doing his best racing over 2000m he again is on track for a Cox Plate bid in 2014 and pays $17 in the latest odds for Australasia’s weight-for-age championship through Ladbrokes.com.au.
“He probably gets a pass mark for his first up run and I see that he’s had a trial in between which will probably sharpen him up,” Rodd said.
“He’s drawn well in barrier two, he should get a nice soft run in transit and I’m just going to have to look to get away from the fence at some stage and hopefully produce him late.
“It’s a really winnable race for him, there’s a few runners that are first-up or have question marks over them but he’s got the run under his belt as well as a trial since so if the pace is good we can hopefully finish over the top of them.”
Futures Cox Plate odds meanwhile are led by Silent Achiever ($11), Roger James’s mare resuming in the Memsie Stakes.
Winner of the Ranvet Stakes – The BMW double in Sydney during the autumn to bring her Group 1 tally up to four, New Zealand-trained O’Reilly mare Silent Achiever is at $10 to win the Memsie and add to the imposing record of mares in the race – seven having saluted since 2000.
Being first-up also works to her advantage as Atlantic Jewel last year was the seventh Memsie Stakes champion to win since 2005 first-up from a spell.
To check out the full Memsie Stakes 2014 odds and back your favourites knowing if they run second you’ll get your money back as a bonus bet up to $50, visit Ladbrokes.com.au today!