This weekend in Melbourne the spring’s first Group 1 race meet takes place at Caulfield Racecourse and in one of the major support races John Sadler’s nice mare Vain Queen will jump favourite in the 2014 The Heath 1100.
Raced under the sponsorship name this year, the $150,000 Group 3 theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m) runs as Memsie Stakes Day Race 5 and has attracted a 15-starter field of older gallopers.
Favourite of those in the Ladbrokes.com.au The Heath Stakes odds is Artie Schiller mare Vain Queen, the five-year-old paying $3.50 to beat the boys in the set weights plus penalties showdown.
She carries the 54kg minimum and will be ridden by Craig Williams from barrier eight after a maiden black-type on her record.
Lightly raced having had just nine starts to date, Vain Queen is already a six time winner with her most recent turf triumph being a four length romp in an open handicap down the 1100m straight at Flemington on June 28.
After that she made her stakes debut in the Listed All Victorian Sprint Final (1200m) but respiratory issues saw her run fourth to Nearest To Pin.
Saturday then is her chance to atone and the bookies are tipping her to do just that ahead of some possible bigger assignments during the carnival.
Four of her rivals join Vain Queen under $10 in The Heath odds this year then with:
- #6 Hard Stride ($6.50) – Street Sense four-year-old with an ultra-consistent record having run top two in his past seven starts including an upset win over triple Group 1 winner Moment Of Change here last start on August 16 in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m). Had an eight kilo advantage over the runner-up that day getting in on 54kg minimum but go up to 57kg here and have a jockey change with Williams off and Damian Lane in the saddle. Wide gate 10 draw could be a problem but the form is too good to ignore. Best Each Way chance.
- #9 Lonhspresso ($6.50) – Inside barrier draw for Darren Weir’s Lonhro mare racing for the first time here since a second last (15th) behind Cosmic Endeavour in the Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21. Last win was in the Straight Six at Flemington and while this is 100m short of her pet distance, does go well fresh (4-0-2-1) so is a good Place Bet.
- #2 Richie’s Vibe ($8) – Market mover in from $8.50, Paul Beshara’s Danerich gelding is first-up here following a failed 15th to the world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate in February. Lengthy spell but back and ready to fire after a winning Gawler trial last week. Undefeated first-up (2-2-0-0) and goes well at Rosehill. This is down in class for the Group 2 winner as well so if back to best can perform.
- #5 Pago Rock ($8.50) – Also resuming is the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained veteran, this seven-year-old son of Rock Of Gibraltar is after his first win since April 19, which was over this track and distance. Needs to improve on an eighth to Lonhrspresso in the Straight Six but the record when resuming is imposing with five wins from seven first-up starts.
Outside of the single figure fancies are some nice value runners with genuine claims including the Peter Moody-trained Group 3 winner Flamberge ($11) who was a close fifth in the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap in the autumn, Tony McEvoy’s in-form Hussonet gelding Rifleman ($13) up in class here and O’Mally ($14) shooting for three on the trot with Glen Boss in the saddle on Saturda from the outside draw.
Check out the full The Heath 2014 odds below, prices available online now at Ladbrokes.com.au who are also offering money back up to $50 as a bonus bet if your first fixed win bet on the Memsie Stakes on Saturday runs second!