Boban may be the clear favourite and genuine market mover to win the 2014 Memsie Stakes in Melbourne this afternoon, but ace Sydney trainer Chris Waller still needs convincing his horse is deserving of the short price.
Waller saddles up just one runner in today’s $400,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memise Stakes (1400m), the Caulfield weight-for-age feature kicking off elite level racing for the season.
A three-time Group 1 winner, Bernardini gelding Boban opened top of the Memsie Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au earlier this week at $4.60.
That’s a price that has continued to firm with the six-year-old now into $3.50 to post his fourth Group 1 trophy.
Last seen running a luckless fourth to fellow Memsie hope Sweet Idea in Sydney’s Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) first-up, Boban was a good thing beaten that day when nothing went his way at Randwick.
There was another spanner in the works then when a mud track last week saw Waller pull the pin on a run in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m).
The Memsie will be the proven weight-for-age galloper’s first run in Melbourne since last spring.
It was a stellar two run Victorian campaign to finish off an undefeated prep 12 last year however with Boban backing up from three straight Sydney wins, including a narrow victory over Streama in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), to go back-to-back in Melbourne.
The first of those was in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes over the same track and distance as the Memsie before Boban backed up at Flemington during the Cup Carnival to beat home subsequent The Goodwood winner Smokin’ Joey in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m).
The Memsie Stakes form guide then shows Boban having won four of his nine starts over 1400m, but Waller knows a mile is where the horse does his best racing and believes the favourite vulnerable over shorter this weekend.
“1400 is probably a bit short for him, especially at Caulfield,” Waller told RSN’s Racing Ahead on Friday.
“He did win very well in the Moonga (Stakes) but at the 600 metres he was going to run last and he just sort of struggled with the first part of the bend and fortunately got home late but he had conditions to suit that day.
“It was a much easier race than what he faces tomorrow, so it’s not going to be easy but he’s certainly going very well.”
Boban has drawn barrier nine for this afternoon’s showdown and will be ridden by Glyn Schofield who was also aboard first-up in the Missile when only three quarters of a length separated his mount and the Gai Waterhouse-trained winner Sweet Idea – a firming $6 fancy for the Memsie.
Waller said plans were to take Boban towards the back early and rely on the same fast-finishing performance he produced in the Missile again here.
“That’s his normal racing pattern and he likes a bit of room, if it was at Flemington I would say it was the perfect draw but at Caulfield it is hard to give good horses a start and then come around and beat them,” he said.
“I never get too far ahead of myself, all I know is that the horse is very well and he just needs a bit of luck in any race.”
After the Memsie Boban’s next major Group 1 target is likely to be the $400,000 Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 13.
“The Makybe Diva in Melbourne in two weeks’ time, a Group 1 mile at Flemington should be the perfect race for him,” Waller confirmed.
After that the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) back at Randwick on October 4, for which he pays $15 through Ladbrokes.com.au to win, is the other nice target.
Epsom Handicap futures betting meanwhile is led by the Team Hawkes-trained Messene ($8), the Missile Stakes runner-up also running in the Memsie Stakes second-up at a current quote of $4 as the second pick in the markets.
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