Darren Weir’s reigning Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance kicks off his Spring Cups bid this season with a first-up run in the Memsie Stakes 2016 field at Caulfield on Saturday.
A total of 14 middle-distance gallopers and resuming stayers make up the field for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m).
The weight-for-age clash is scheduled as Caulfield Race 7 at 4:10pm (AEST) on the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival card this weekend, which officially gets the Group 1 action of the season underway.
Prince Of Penzance is the highest-rated of the final acceptors and is drawn out in barrier 11 with Harry Coffey booked to ride the seven-year-old son of Pentire.
The galloper scored a massive boilover as a 101/1 shot winning last November’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and has had just the one run since.
In May he finished a brave second only a quarter-length off the winner Tonopah in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) over an unsuitably short distance in Adelaide from the same gate he’s drawn this weekend.
Coffey rides the Prince for the first time in the Memsie Stakes, the galloper to improve over more metres later this prep with a Melbourne Cup 2016 title defence the major aim.
Weir has accepted for all four of his original Memsie Stakes entries including the early favourite Black Heart Bart.
Formerly prepared in Perth, the son of Blackfriars jumps from gate five with Brad Rawiller in the saddle first-up.
Rawiller rode the consistent elite level performer for his Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) win at Morphettville in May as well as his last start second when a nose off Under The Louvre at Eagle Farm in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 11.
Black Heart Bart is a gun over the 1400m boasting five wins and four seconds from 10 runs over the distance he resumes over on the weekend and has won his only other Caulfield assignment to date.
Weir’s other Memsie Stakes hopes are smart four-year-old Mahuta in barrier two and Palentino drawn gate 10.
Flying Spur stallion Mahuta is a winner of four of his five 1400m run so far and chases his first win since saluting at the track and distance in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes (1400m) back in mid-February.
He is second-up on Saturday having resumed in mid-August when sixth, only beaten two lengths in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) also run at Caulfield.
Stablemate Palentino has Mark Zahra coming aboard in place of Rawiller and drops from 60kg to a more manageable 58.5kg from his last start fourth a fortnight back at the track behind Voodoo Lad in the Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m).
He is best known for his Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) victory over VRC Derby winner Tarzino at Flemington in March, after which the son of Teofilo finished runner-up at Moonee Valley in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m).
Other notable Memsie Stakes acceptors include recent Bletchingly Stakes winner Lord Of The Sky, Mick Price’s returning Rosehill Guineas winner from the autumn Tarzino, the ATC Derby winning Kiwi visitor Tavago and Australian Oaks winner Sofia Rosa who also hails from the land of the long white cloud.
Check out the full Memsie Stakes 2016 field, barriers and jockeys below with updated markets to be released shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Memsie Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 7 (4:10pm) -27/08/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x855821x2x||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Harry Coffey||11||59kg||113|
|2||492x21212x||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||5||59kg||113|
|3||270x00x415||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Damien Oliver||1||59kg||105|
|4||41×9621008||CHARMED HARMONY||John Sadler||Thomas Sadler||3||59kg||105|
|5||2415x2018x||HE OR SHE||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||12||59kg||103|
|6||21511246×3||TASHBEEH||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Cory Parish||14||59kg||95|
|7||1112x26x5x||ALPINE EAGLE||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||6||59kg||103|
|8||1111110×36||MAHUTA||Darren Weir||John Allen||2||58.5kg||104|
|9||1731x4214x||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||9||58.5kg||109|
|10||2113061x||TAVAGO (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Ben Melham||8||58.5kg||108|
|11||211x7212x4||PALENTINO||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||10||58.5kg||105|
|12||215x11113x||TALLY||John O’Shea||Michael Dee (a)||13||58.5kg||98|
|13||27x063540x||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||4||57kg||107|
|14||7x1F1x121x||SOFIA ROSA (NZ)||Stephen Marsh||Michael Walker||7||56.5kg||105|