- Memsie Stakes: it’s a Group 1 field, but are they all ready to go?
- The key is understanding where each horse is at
There’s been some discussion this week regarding early-season Group 1 races, following last Saturday’s running of the Winx (Warwick) Stakes in Sydney. This race has traditionally been a Group 2 event, and this year was upgraded to a Group 1. The argument of many is that these early-season races shouldn’t be classed as Group 1, as they’re not really a target or “Grand Final” for any horse, which many believe a true Group 1 should be. Nearly all entrants will have bigger targets throughout the Spring, with these early races being lead-up runs.
It’s Melbourne’s turn this week with the Group 1 Memsie Stakes over 1400 metres at Caulfield. Whatever official grading these races carry, it’s interesting to look at them from a form analysis point of view. How should they be treated? The field may be star-studded, but is it little more than a track gallop for many who’ll be nowhere near their best? And how should you treat them when trying to solve the form puzzle?
Last week’s Winx Stakes really did highlight the trouble us punters have with these races.
It featured stars like Happy Clapper, Avilius, Youngstar, Verry Elleegent, and Le Romain.
The winner? Samadoubt, which jumped at an SP of $31 was widely available at even better prices.
In hindsight, it’s quite clear what happened. Horses such as Avilius and Verry Elleegent are headed to races like the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. This was a fitness workout for them. They all sat out the back behind Samdoubt, who didn’t have the class but could run the sectionals required. He goes on to win because the other horses couldn’t get in the race. Avilius ran the last 600 metres in 33 seconds, made up four lengths on Samadoubt, and still got beaten by a length. The break was just too big. In fact, ten of the twelve runners ran a faster last 200 metres than Samadoubt, who was at least a length (and up to four lengths) slower than them all. But it didn’t matter… they didn’t get into the race early enough and they just couldn’t catch him. All those gun horses are all going to 2000 metres and further this prep and couldn’t get into this race.
What To Look For In The Memsie Stakes
Like that race, the Memsie Stakes is a 1400m race. So the first thing you’ve got to do is identify the horses that are sprinter / milers who’ll be suited at the trip, versus those that are resuming stayers. That’ll start to give you an idea of who’s capable.
The Memsie Stakes is usually a mix of them, but this year is a bit different. There’s actually not as many resuming stayers as there usually is. Still, the lesson holds true and is important to keep in mind for both this and other races.
Memsie Stakes Field
The speed map is always the first thing to look at. Cliff’s Edge leads, and Fundamentalist has good pace but will take a sit. Scales Of Justice will get a trail in. Dispatch (blinkers again) will cross and Begood Toya Mother will have to work hard to cross. Hartnell will be back on the inside. Alizee is three-wide with a trail, and So Si Bon is on the fence with a lot of horses in front. It should be genuinely run.
HUMIDOR (3) is first-up and actually a really good example of what we were talking about. He won this race last year, but he was second-up then and was still unfancied, paying $21.
You have to understand the horses’ patterns. Humidor’s first-up runs are usually a clean-up, then his last two preps have produced wins second-up. And previous to that it was third-up.
He’s had 310 days off and will be set for the Cox Plate. He can’t win here because he can’t be far enough into his preparation for their major goal yet. So you rate him down to what he does first-up.
HARTNELL (1) is more of a miler now and I think that’s what they’ll be trying to do. He’s second-up here off two weeks… last year he went three weeks into the Feehan, then three weeks into the Epsom Handicap at the mile, which he won. You’d expect him to race alright here because he’s further advanced, and depending how he’s going they might go straight into a Group 1 mile race or have one more prep run. He runs well at 1400 metres in general.
SCALES OF JUSTICE (5) is one of the horses that looks to be actually set for this. He’s third-up here into what is a million-dollar race. He ran really well here two starts back and probably surprised them. They then ran in Adelaide where he was beaten at short odds, but there wasn’t much in it. I’d be guessing they haven’t done much else with him and he’s primed for this. He maps well and gets the right run. He ticks a lot of boxes.
ALIZEE (11) is second-up. Watching the video, he was very kind to it and basically eased it down and just won. She actually won at Group 1 level over1400 metres third-up last prep, but her runs were more spaced. She should have more residual fitness this time in and the class is clear: she was third behind Mystic Journey and Hartnell in the All-Star Mile. I’ve taken something off for the barrier – she’ll probably be three-wide – but still have her favourite. But at longer than the market. So I’ll be looking for a drift.
CLIFF’S EDGE (1) was terrific last start behind Mystic Journey. He’s a chance here in my opinion because he’ll lead and if the others don’t work to get forward, he’ll get a very good run.
Despite the recent streak, I don’t like BEGOOD TOYA MOTHER (9) here. I just think he’ll have to do too much work from the outside barrier. He didn’t run a very fast time first-up last start even though he won easily. I’ve rated him to his best but he’ll have to work hard. I think the Rupert Clarke in a few weeks will be the target.
So my chances are actually similar to the market at the moment – Alizee, Scales Of Justice, Hartnell and Cliff’s Edge. I’ll be waiting for the percentages to get down later in betting, and might be able to have a bet.