Race 1 - 12:25pm
Symo's 50th Handicap (2400m)
Only seven stayers will step out in the first on Memsie Stakes Day and with the exception of Jinda, nothing carries particularly strong nor relatable form. There is every chance that a couple of these horses will be up to winning something decent later in the carnival, but there’s too much that could potentially happen here and I’m happy to watch.
Race 2 - 1:00pm
Nitto Denko Handicap (1200m)
Dawn Dawn returned a pleasing first-up effort and a looks a live chance at a price second-up at Caulfield on Saturday. The Team Hawkes-trained five-year-old is only lightly raced and mustered a decent turn of foot to finish less than a length second behind Prime Candidate at Rosehill Gardens. This is only her second attempt at the Victorian way of going, but she finished better than midfield in Group 3 company here last spring and this is obviously a far easier task.
1 Unit E/W Dawn Dawn
Race 3 - 1:35pm
Clanbrooke Racing Handicap (1400m)
My Pendant will carry winning form into this mares’ handicap and will take a power of beating again. The Danny O’Brien-trained four-year-old was an outstanding performer for the stable last time in and appears set for another big preparation after finishing second at HQ first-up and winning at the same course and distance last time out. She’ll carry only 54kgs and can make it two in a row.
4 Units My Pendant
Race 4 - 2:10pm
Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m)
Steel Prince was undefeated during his most-recent prep and can make a winning return in the Heatherlie Stakes. The former Weir runner found another level when he was transferred to the care of Anthony Freedman and won five races in autumn; peaking with his triumph in the Listed Andrew Ramsden. This is a very winnable race for him, and he’s had the benefit of a trial in the lead-up.
2 Units Steel Prince
Race 5 - 2:50pm
Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m)
Only nine horses have been confirmed in the McNeil Stakes field, but the depth of quality suggests that it will be one of the better contests on Memsie Stakes Day.
There’s a case to be made for nearly every horse, but I’m keen to have a play on the resuming Missile Mantra, who is yet to taste anything but success. There was a lot to like about the way Missile Mantra hit the line to win on debut at Ballarat, and she franked that performance by winning the Listed Redoute’s Choice Stakes at her only other start. The form coming out of that race has been good and I think that this filly can win another.
2 Units Missile Mantra
Race 6 - 3:30pm
Group 3 The Heath (1100m)
Outstanding sprinter Vega Magic will make his long-awaited return to racing in The Heath and has opened a very short favourite, given his long lay-off. He clearly has class by the spade full and is a multiple Group 1 champion and on that alone, is up to winning, but given the class that he is drawn against here, I’m happy to take him on.
Ball Of Muscle’s first-up record is outstanding and he will give them something to chase in The Heath. The Joe Pride-trained sprinter won several good races last spring and resumed in Autumn to beat a classy field to the line in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes. A repeat of that performance would see him winning this.
2 Units Ball Of Muscle
Race 7 - 4:10pm
Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m)
Pippie’s run to win over 1100m here at Caulfield last time out was enormous, and she looks well placed to score a bit of black type in the Cockram Stakes. The John & Chris Meagher-trained mare showed plenty of promise during her debut prep and resumed this time for an easy win at Doomben, in what was her only other start prior to her last effort. She’ll improve further third-up and will be hard to beat.
Amphitrite is the class horse of the Cockram Stakes field and on that alone, she’s good enough to win. The Group 1 winner has an excellent fresh record and won the Group 3 Vanity first-up in autumn. She’s worth consideration as well at an each-way price.
3 Units Pippie
1 Unit E/W Amphitrite
Race 8 - 4:50pm
Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m)
Alizee has clearly returned to the races in typically strong form this time and will take a power of beating in the Memsie Stakes. The multiple Group 1 winner won each of her first three starts last time in, including the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at this track and distance, and she’ll have taken great improvement from her first-up run and win in the Group 2 Missile Stakes three weeks ago. The 1400m is ideal and she won’t be offered a better opportunity at the top level this time in.
Fundamentalist is another horse that will enjoy good improvement with a run under her belt and she looks the value in Memsie Stakes betting ($19 at publish). The Not A Single Doubt mare ran a close-up second in Group 1 company twice in autumn and hit the line well to finish third in the Listed Regal Roller first-up this time.
4 Units Alizee
0.5 Units E/W Fundamentalist
Race 9 - 5:25pm
Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap (1400m)
The field for the last is capacity and wide open from a betting perspective, but I’ll be happy to have a small each-way bet on Lindsay Park galloper Long Leaf. Long Leaf hasn’t quite lived up to the massive hype that followed him throughout his two-year-old season, but he returned to the track in strong form last time in and won the Listed Karaka 3YO Classic in New Zealand before ending his prep sixth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas. His first-up run for sixth in the Listed Regal Roller was only fair, but he is a horse that typically enjoys sharp improvement second up and I think that he’s up to doing something in this company.
1 Unit E/W Long Leaf