This Saturday, we will technically still be a few days out from the actual start of Spring, but nobody has told the horses that. When you look at the fields for Saturday’s Caulfield card, it is certainly apparent that they big guns are starting to gear up. The main race on the card is The Memsie stakes. This is somewhat of a flagship race for the Spring, as it is a marker for the start of the carnival, and starts to form a gauge as to how horses are returning for their campaign towards the really big races over the next three months. I’ve always felt that The Memsie, and The Turnbull Stakes both fall into this category, and have that feel about them. One lets you know how horses are going early on, and another to tell how you how they are progressing as we get towards the pointy end of the stick in terms of The Cups. The Cups aren’t the only focus in the Spring of course – There’s a Cox Plate to be run and won, a number of quality sprinting races, and the Three Year Old crop is sure to provide great racing also. I’ll kick off with a broad preview of some to keep an eye out for across the Spring, and then move more specifically to The Memsie. Taiyoo and Big Memory put in great first up runs, and should be followed from a Caulfield Cup point of view, away from those at the top of the market. If their campaigns go well, there is no reason why that wouldn’t then put them in contention for The Melbourne Cup. Signoff, after its great run in the race last year is the other that creates most interest for me at this stage. Pornichet was a great return in Sydney recently and looks on track for his “grand final” to be The Cox Plate. Contributor hopefully will come back well from injury and have something to say about that though, and Winx will take great improvement from her current spell and I think will run one of the favourites in this race and be right in it up to her ears. I think there is potential for her to be “the next big thing”. Japonisme beat Vancouver fair and square in the San Domenico, and is a horse that will really go places this spring with The Caulfield Guineas being the “grand final” as long as it can stay up for that long, after racing through Winter. For the fairer sex in the Thousand Guineas, just how good is Petits Filous? I’d say very good. Jalan Jalan couldn’t have finished it’s race off any better in the Quezette, but worries me that it will always be a “back me next time” horse. How impressive was Alaskan Rose on debut? She is the real deal! Pornichet was a great return in Sydney recently and looks on track for his “grand final” to be The Cox Plate. Contributor hopefully will come back well from injury and have something to say about that though, and Winx will take great improvement from her current spell and I think will run one of the favourites in this race and be right in it up to her ears. Moving to focus on The Memsie. To my way of thinking, this race is as open as The Sydney heads, but what impresses me the most is to see a big field, which I think is testament to how competitive this Spring is going to be. Topping the market, is the horse that has the most proven ability in the race at this distance range, Boban. When this horse is on song, he’s one of, if not the best in the country. I prefer him over 1600m however and around a bigger track. Fawkner finds himself second favourite at $7, but is another I would be happy to risk, simply because he is getting on in years. Weary is from the all conquering Waller stable, but is yet to prove himself at this level, so again finds himself too short in the market for mine at $7.50. That’s the top three in the betting I have potted – Statistics would suggest I’m likely to eat humble pie there, but I’m happy to have a go! Volkstok’n’barrell has found early betting support, and I can understand why. This horse strikes me as one that isn’t an out and out stayer, and will sprint well fresh. Around about the $9 mark now is probably its right price, but there was as much as $16 snapped up early, which I can undestand. Temple Of Boom is the one with the sprinting form, he’ll have a fitness edge over some, but with 8 goes at the 1400m, and yet to crack a win, does that take him out of contention? I’m not prepared to put a line through him completely as he has generally always been competitive. Entirely Platinum is one proven at the distance, with 4 wins from 7 starts, and has mixed it well at this level at the end of his last prep, and I feel is a progressive horse that is up to this. Dandino, Magicool and Hi World are all horses I am keen to see from a future view point. Things didn’t go right for Dandino in terms of injuries previously, but if he has overcome that, there is no doubt he is a quality animal, and the other two again could be progressive horses ready to take another step forward, this may be a touch sharp for them though. The new kid on the block is Sentinum, he could not have been more impressive recently in The Regal Roller, and the fitness edge again is the main thing in his favour, I feel this is another big step up in class however. Let’s see how good he is. This piece wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Happy Trails. What a consistent high class horse he is, but, too many times he is always running on and not getting there. If past performance is the best indicator of future performance, I’m prepared to say he will do that again. The intent here hasn’t really been to select the winner of the race, I’ve already mentionecd that was a very hard task. What I hopefully have proven however, is just how much depth this race has, and just how much depth the whole Spring is going to have. The way to go in my opinion is to look to back a few runners in this race, and stick to that theory throughout the Spring in the quest to catch that elusive value we all look for as punters. If asked which runners I would centre around, I would lean towards, Temple Of Boom, Entirely Platinum, Volkstok’n’barrell and Hi World. Bring on Spring racing, it doesn’t get any better!