This Saturday at Flemington Racecourse on Victoria Derby Day the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Thousand Guineas winner Stay With Me will be out to beat the older mares in the Myer Classic 2015 for the first time in history.
No three-year-old has won the mile feature for the fillies and mares since the race was inaugurated back in 1988 when it only held Listed status.
Now the weight-for-age $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) is one of four elite level features on the Flemington line-up on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, attracting 17 nominations this spring.
Five of the early Myer Classic entries come off a last start victory including the Hayes & Dabernig-trained Street Cry filly Stay With Me, one of two three-year-olds nominated along with My Poppette.
Robert Smerdon’s Group 2 Moonee Valley Classic (1600m) winner from last Saturday on Cox Plate Day, My Poppette is more likely to head towards Thursday week’s $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) via a run in the $300,000 Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) on Derby Day.
That will leave Stay With Me to break the three-year-olds’ hoodoo in the Myer on the back of a Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) win over the same distance at Caulfield on October 10.
Five three-year-olds have run in the Myer Classic to date, the best result being Thousand Guineas winner Alinghi running second behind Miss Potential in 2004 over 10 years ago, while 2011 Thousand Guineas runner-up Mosheen (sixth to Hurtle Myrtle) was the most recent.
In this year’s Thousand Guineas Stay With Me, now a winner of three of her six starts, beat home the Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka by one and three-quarter lengths who franked the form with a nice win over the boys in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) last weekend.
Stay With Me will get the weight advantage over her older rivals on Saturday as she shoots for back-to-back Group 1 wins getting in with only 49kg, but it is still a tough assignment on the agenda.
Co-trainer Hayes has saddled up six previous Myer Classic runners over the years for just the one second place finish, so is also looking to break his duck in the clash this weekend with a filly he believes is rock hard fit for the run.
“She’s really good and I think she is about to peak,” he told Racenet.
“She’s been building this preparation and been winning with a dull coat. She’s starting to bloom now.”
Other last start winners nominated for the Myer Classic this season include Danny O’Brien’s Group 3 Ladies Day Vase winner over the Caulfield mile Miss Rose De Lago, Smerdon’s in-form Politeness coming off back-to-back Group 3 wins over 1200m at Caulfield and the flying Street Sense five-year-old La Passe.
Prepared by Darren Weir, La Passe has won three of her past four starts including the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m) – Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) double at her two most recent runs.
Last year’s Myer Classic winner Bonaria scored the upset as a 25/1 chance on the back of a seventh in the Ladies Day Vase, but before her the Tristarc Stakes produced the 202 and 2013 winners including Red Tracer two years ago who completed the double La Passe looks to emulate on the weekend.
While the Myer Classic has eluded Hayes to date, he won the 2006 VRC Oaks with Miss Finland, but said he wasn’t tempted to shoot for another win in that classic with Stay With Me this year who will have Sam Clipperton in the saddle this Saturday.
“She’s nowhere near as robust as Miss Finland at this stage of her career,” Hayes said.
“We felt to test her over a distance at this stage of her career might be detrimental.
“She’s got a great turn of foot off a fast pace and we thought she would get that against the mares. We’ll find out on Saturday.”
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