Racing returns to Caulfield with the running of the first Group 1 of the new season in the Memsie Stakes.
A stellar field has been assembled for this weight-for-age contest with the former WA star Vega Magic the centre of attraction for the 1400m race.
There is a strong card of three-year-old and mares races to support the Memsie, but the main race is the absolute stand-out.
The last time they raced here (Aug 19) the false rail was at the three-metre position. It will be stretched out to six metres here.
The track is perfect rated as a Good 4 and with sunny weather forecast we are in for a special treat.
QUADDIES (races 6,7,8,9)
Skinny Play: 2,4 – 1,5 – 1,8 - 2
Wide Play: 2,3,4,8 – 1,2,5 – 1,6,8,15 – 2,4,7,16
BEST BET: R9 – 2. GRANDE ROSSO
Next Best Bet: R6 – 2. VOODOO LAD
Best Roughie: R5 – 12. DIVINE CHILLS
No1 JUSTICE GLORY sent a blunt message that she was back with a vengeance with an arrogant win over 1300m at Sandown first up on August 16. With apprentice Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim her impost is lowered to 59kg and she strikes a small field of fillies at her return here.
No3 MAHLANI dug deep to post a narrow win over 1300m at Echuca on July 27. She was plunged from $11 into $7 that day. Then was set a task when caught three deep but fought on well top run fourth to Justice Glory over 1300m at Sandown on August 16. Drops 3kg to 56kg here for that effort.
No8 RUNWAY QUEEN has been the bridesmaid at her past two starts at Geelong. Latest she fought hard to go down in a fight for the top prize over 1300m in a maiden on August 25. With Taylor Marshall’s 2kg claim she had no weight on 52kg and should have her admirers.
No5 HARD FAITH scored her breakthrough win at her fifth and last start over 1300m in a maiden at Geelong on August 13. She has been consistent on country tracks but she is elevated in class here. Has a superior draw on the rail to her last start and has Daniel Stackhouse to ride. Worth a nudge.
VALUE RUNNER: No5 HARD FAITH
No11 SWAMPLAND looks hard to overhaul on her latest form with three outstanding wins in a row. Latest was at Flemington where she zoomed away to a 2½ length win over 1400m on August 14. She drops a half kilo to 54kg and gets a change of rider with Chris Symons her new partner.
No8 OREGON’S DAY she was trapped wide and had to pursue a run on the rails before she saw daylight and worked home well to run a solid eighth over 1100m here on August 19. With a superior run here and being fitter for her first-up start she can range as a danger. Can overcome gate nine.
No14 FALIKA has a stellar record of three wins and three placings at nine starts. She is bound to strip fitter from her first-up second over 1400m at Ballarat on May 24. She drops 4kg to the limit on 54kg and has the experienced Nikita Beriman to partner. Gets a soft run from gate one.
No2 SCHISM with Ethan Brown’s 3kg claim she carries a more comfortable 57kg here. She was searching for a fourth straight win over 1200m in the Regal Roller Stakes when finishing ninth to Vega Magic here a fortnight ago. She is pitched against her own sex and makes a strong case.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 SCHISM
No3 MR SNEAKY is on the comeback trail after being in sensational form to win at three of his past five starts and be placed at the other two occasions. Latest he was a $2.25 favourite when he scooted to a clear win over 1200m here on April 29. He strikes a highly competitive field here but is a safe bet.
No5 TRIBAL WISDOM was first-up from a spell when finishing sixth down the straight 1000m at Flemington on August 12. He is far better suited over this distance and going around a corner. He does go up 5.5kg to 59kg for his drop in grade here but shown talent at his only five starts for two wins.
No4 THEANSWERMYFRIEND came in for support before finishing a sound second over 1100m here on August 19. Gets a gear change with a tongue-tie going on for the first time and he has maintained a great consistency throughout his career. Ben Thompson’s 1.5kg claim drops his weight to 58.5kg.
No1 RICH LUCK is building a reputation with five wins and a second at seven starts. He won fashionably over 1200m at Geelong last start on July 17 as a $3.20 favourite. He jumps an extra 2kg to 61.5kg, which is a decent anchor. Regular rider Chris Symons keeps the mount.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 RICH LUCK
No2 MERCHANT NAVY is a well-heeled 3yr old for trainer Ciaron Maher. He has an unblemished record of three starts for three wins as a juvenile and makes his return here from a 130-day spell. Mark Zahra is back on top and from barrier four he should gain a cosy run and be a top chance.
No1 KOBAYASHI is going to strip a lot fitter for his first-up fifth to Jukebox in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) here on August 19. He gave a strong performance in a highly competitive field that day and will relish the extra 100m here. Expect another determined effort from this colt.
No3 TREKKING is from the Godoliphin stable and has the wise Craig Williams to steer. Godolphin and Williams won the Group 2 Lawrence last month and this colt ran a brave third in The Rosebud (1100m) at Rosehill first-up on August 12. He was fancied in the betting that day and is again a contender.
No10 PLOVERSET has a win and two thirds at her three starts. Latest she ran a great third to classy filly Crown Witness in the Quezette Stakes (1100m) here a fortnight ago. That was first-up from a 154-day spell and she will be fitter for her clash against the males here.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 PLOVERSET
No2 FUHRYK has been well-supported by punters in early markets. She gets ace jockey Craig Williams to ride her at her return in this mares-only feature and she did enough work to show she was primed first-up at a recent jump out at Flemington on August 18. Has a top fresh record and strong chance.
No8 SWORD OF LIGHT was a classy 3yr old filly last season and she gave a solid performance at a jump out at Flemington on August 18 to indicate she is primed for this fresh. Ben Thompson rides but he cannot use his claim and she carries her published weight on 55kg. Will be steaming home.
No1 SAVANNA AMOUR struck a bog track at her first start back in the Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Sandown on August 6. She ran a credible sixth to the flying machine Ability in the Group 3 and with Ben Melham in the saddle she will get every chance here. She loves this track too.
No12 DIVINE CHILLS (BEST ROUGHIE) was caught in heavy traffic and a victim of circumstance before finishing eighth over 1200m at Moonee Valley last Saturday. She is on the quick back but if she gets a few favours can figure here. Has the in-form Luke Currie to ride.
VALUE RUNNER: No12 DIVINE CHILLS
No2 VOODOO LAD (NEXT BEST BET) can argue he should be a Group 1 winner but has been wayward. He gets his chance to kick-start his spring campaign on a high from barrier seven over 1100m here. He loves this track with two wins and a second at three starts. Top jockey Brad Rawiller rides and he goes well fresh with a record of three wins and two seconds at five starts.
No3 MALIBU STYLE sprouted wings at his recent Flemington jump outs and would respect.
No4 SHEIDEL absolutely blazed her opposition in a trial over 1000m. She is all class.
No10 WE’VE GOT THIS gave a great sight to win a trial impressively and would ignore first-up effort.
VALUE RUNNER: No10 WE’VE GOT THIS
No5 VEGA MAGIC has yet to blemish his record at two starts for Team Hayes winning the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) and the Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) first-up here a fortnight ago. He gave away a heap of weight (60.5kg) last time but meets his foes on equal terms here under weight-for-age. Goodwood rider Craig Williams is back on top and stretching out the extra 200m is no issue.
No1 BLACK HEART BART can expect a bolder “Bart” this time as he will strip much fitter on his first-up third to Hartnell in the Lawrence Stakes (1400m) here on August 19. Regular rider Brad Rawiller is on key for this and he gets a perfect run midfield. Plenty to like about him here.
No8 HEY DOC is a Group 1 winning 3yr old facing open class for the first time at elite level. He was super winning the Aurie’s Star (1200m) at Flemington down the straight first up but this is again up another notch. He has class and his regular partner Luke Currie rides again.
No2 LE ROMAIN is a NSW Group 1 winner making tracks for here a soft fifth in a trial at Randwick on August 21. He ran a cracking first-up third in the Missile Stakes (1200m) on August 5, when backed into a $1.95 favourite. He is a Group 1 winner at 1500m. Expect a hearty performance.
VALUE RUNNER: No2 LE ROMAIN
No8 MONTOYA’S SECRET capped an imposing campaign with a great win in the Group 1 Vinery Stakes at Rosehill on March 25. She resumed with a 10th to Hartnell in the Lawrence Stakes (1400m) here on August 19. Her second-up record is far superior and from five she gets a soft run.
No1 VENTURA STORM is an Irish imported stallion who has been given two trials over 1200m and 1400m in preparation for his return to racing. He is from Team Hayes and will have the polish with great goals set for him over the spring and campaigned highly at his debut Australian prep.
No6 HARLEM is a stablemate to Ventura Storm and is also a Northern hemisphere import. He has competed well at Group 2 and Group 1 level at his three Australian starts last preparation. He has had two solid trials over 1200m and 1400m for his return. Gives Team Hayes a strong hand here.
No3 TALLY has been an honest campaigner for Godolphin and gets his chances here on first-up second over 1400m at Flemington on August 12. He gets Craig Williams to ride here and has an excellent second-up record of a win and two seconds at four starts.
VALUE RUNNER: No1 VENTURA STORM
No2 GRANDE ROSSO (BEST BET) made a cracking return from a spell with a great third to Hartnell in the Lawrence Stakes (1400m) here on August 19. He gets top jockey Craig Williams to guide him from gate 11 and he is well down in class in this race on his last start. He loves this track with two wins and a second at six starts. Can end the day on a great note for Team Hayes.
No7 SNITZSON was a fair effort first-up and gives Team Hayes a strong hand here.
No16 DIVINE MR ARTIE has been a model of consistency and from two gets a cosy run.
No13 SOUCHEZ faces much softer opposition here second-up and worth another look.
VALUE RUNNER: No16 DIVINE MR ARTIE