Memsie Stakes 2013 preview

Cameron Rose Columnist

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    The first Group 1 of the 2013/14 season is upon us, and while many had a legitimate problem with the elevation of the Memsie Stakes from its previous Group 2 status, its arrival is more exciting for it.

    Recent history suggests there’s a greater than 50 percent chance we’ll be seeing the 2013 Cox Plate winner contesting tomorrow’s edition.

    Last year’s Memsie produced three subsequent Spring Group 1 winners, including the Melbourne Cup and Emirates Stakes.

    Class always wins out in a Memsie, and it’s either a top-notch seven furlong or 2000m weight-for-age horse that gets the job done.

    Atlantic Jewel is the headline act and even-money favourite, an unbeaten potential superstar and the owner of some breath-taking wins.

    Anyone who saw her Wakeful Stakes win in 2011 still cries themselves to sleep over the decision not to run her in that year’s Cox Plate instead.

    Not seen since winning a weak All-Aged Stakes with ease in the autumn of 2012, the word out of the Mark Kavanagh camp has been extremely bullish once more.

    We’ll see a much bigger and stronger mare, as expected, and according to trackwork reports, the same or improved acceleration.

    Drawn to sit wherever jockey Michael Rodd wants to be, she shouldn’t have too many excuses upon her return.

    More so than usual as we approach the spring carnival, all racing fans are desperate to know where the four year olds sit in the weight for age pecking order.

    It’s a Dundeel is the marquee name among last season’s three-year-olds, is in the top two or three in Cox Plate betting depending where you look, and will start as second favourite here.

    His only failure was in the Vic Derby last year, and he was very good first up last campaign behind Pierro and Rebel Dane.

    Yet to be seen publicly, his heavyweight clash with Atlantic Jewel will have long-lasting repercussions and provide plenty of material for Justin’s Monday review.

    Super Cool is something of the forgotten horse with his glamour girl stablemate stealing all the headlines, but is an exciting prospect in his own right.

    Three-year-olds don’t win Australian Cups without being exceptional as a rule, but is he ready to figure in the finish here?

    Ajeeb won’t have any challengers for the lead, and can give a sight as he did in the P.B Lawrence, where he ran an honest second to Puissance de Lune.

    He looks a very nice horse in the making, and Mick Price is surely eyeing off the Caulfield Group 1 handicaps, the Rupert Clarke and Toorak for him.

    Happy Trails and Second Effort ran second and third respectively in this race last year, so it would be good to see both run well again to give an early indicator as to how this spring is going to stack up compared to last.

    This edition appears a couple of lengths stronger, so it’s hard to see either taking it out, although it’s worth noting that the trainer of Happy Trails, Paul Beshara, thinks he’ll win it.

    While not quite a weight-for-age galloper yet, he’s one of the genuine sprinter-miler’s in the field, and is sure to give a good account of himself.

    Fiorente put in the one of the most talked about runs of the Sydney autumn when resuming over this distance in the All Aged Stakes, savaging the line late.

    Like many Gai Waterhouse first-up runners, he’s had the two trials, as he did on that occasion. He’ll be forward enough to have a say if she wants him to be.

    Luckygray has found himself in trouble or been in unsuitable races in his Melbourne starts. Finishing next to him in the Aurie’s Star was Ferlax, finding the line well from last.

    Both have question marks on their class at this level, and have something to prove to the doubters.

    Green Moon, Seville, My Quest For Peace and Silent Achiever will all look to be running on with an eye to longer races, and while one of these could run a bottler into fourth or fifth, it’s difficult to think they’ll be in the placings.

    What a race this is going to be, with the replay to be watched many, many times over the weekend. I couldn’t back Atlantic Jewel at the current odds, but I certainly don’t want to bet against her either.

    Selections

    1. Atlantic Jewel
    2. Happy Trails
    3. Fiorente
    4. Ajeeb

    The Golden Rose is quickly becoming one of the best races in the country, and all the major players, with the exception perhaps of Drago, are in action tomorrow.

    The Run to the Rose shapes as a deep race of many chances.

    Va Pensiero won the San Domenico on his merits, beating Cluster and Windjammer by less than a length. All three start in double figures here.

    Golden Slipper place-getter and Golden Rose favourite, Sidestep, the unlucky runner out of that particular lead-up, is the easing favourite but could be the best horse in the field and win accordingly.

    Cluster looks the value of those runners. Anthony Cummings can get them home at odds, but who knows what to make of his claim that his colt is the best three-year-old in the country.

    Eurozone and Dissident ran the quinella in the Rosebud. The former keeps doing enough to win every time he steps up a level, while the latter has a touch of class but might already be looking for further.

    Zoustar has a boom around him and should be right there for Chris Waller, and the best backed with Sportsbet has been Napayshini, $11 into $8.

    Ike’s Legacy and Into the Red could have something special about them, while Equator, the forgotten Waterhouse runner, could be the ‘War’ of this field. Criterion, which has continuously raced against he best, can’t be left out of calculations either.

    Selections
    1. Cluster
    2. Sidestep
    3. Eurozone
    4. Zoustar

    The winner of the Golden Rose could well be running at Caulfield though, albeit as a maiden, in the McNeil Stakes.

    Everything about Fast ‘N’ Rocking screams big field, hot pace, and 1400m, which the Golden Rose will surely provide.

    He doesn’t even need to necessarily overcome a crack field tomorrow to prove it, although victory would almost secure him favouritism and give his army of supporters some good cheer in the process.

    I sense that if you back him all campaign from this point on, you’ll be up rather than down at the end of it.

    Miracles of Life has made a mess of all opposition in her short career, but this might be her toughest test to day given the conditions of the race and awkward barrier.

    She bolted in during a recent trial over a couple of handy types and hasn’t lost any admirers over her break. Will the fairytale story continue?

    Tony Vasil thinks Prince Harada might be the best colt he’s trained, which is saying something considering Elvestroem and Haradasun were under his care! Tomorrow we find out if he can live up to those wraps.

    Il Cavallo was a black booker from the Vain Stakes where Fast ‘n’ Rocking was desperately unlucky, fighting on valiantly after working hard on the speed. While this may not be his race having drawn poorly again, he’ll be winning something shortly.

    Pyrrolic stays under notice due to an impressive debut win back in May, while Gai Waterhouse has chosen this for Divine Calling ahead of the Run to the Rose, and must be respected.

    Selections
    1. Fast ‘N’ Rocking
    2. Miracles of Life
    3. Prince Harada
    4. Il Cavallo

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • Editor

      August 30th 2013 @ 9:49am
      Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report

      This Memsie promises so much. I’ve been in a running argument with Justin Cinque about how easily Atlantic Jewel will win. I’m all for her – there’s risk around how long it’s been since she last was seen, the 1400m trip, and the quality, quality field she comes up against. But she just wins, for mine. Thanks Cam, can’t wait! The Roar will be live blogging the race too.

      Haven’t looked forward to a race as much as this in months!

      Edit: Also Eurozone on top for mine. Classy horse.

      • Columnist

        August 30th 2013 @ 10:00am
        Alfred Chan said | August 30th 2013 @ 10:00am | ! Report

        Atlantic Jewel may be unbeaten but she hasn’t beaten a lot in her seven wins. Punters have been impressed by her when she stepped out of her age group and she won the Group 1 All Aged Stakes in her last start, against older horses.

        The horse that ran second on that day was Rain Affair who ran on a dry track over 1400m. Rain Affair lined up last week in those exact same conditions and struggled immensely to cover the trip, thus detracting from the form of Atlantic Jewel.

        If Atlantic Jewel wins, I don’t think it will be by much.

        • Editor

          August 30th 2013 @ 10:15am
          Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          Fair points Alfred. I don’t think Nash helped poor old Rain Affair by going at a million miles an hour on the dry.

          We’ll see tomorrow!

          • Roar Guru

            August 30th 2013 @ 7:03pm
            Trent Masenhelder said | August 30th 2013 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

            On face value Nash’s ride on Rain Affair would be well worthy of a place in the “slaughter files”. However, in his defence, trainer Joseph Pride did say before the race he made it perfectly clear that he wanted Rain Affair lengths in front topping the rise, not just half length in front and save him for a sprint home. His plan was to break the hearts of the opposition but unfortunately this only broke the heart of Rain Affair. I’m sure they didn’t bank on Streama taking them on. So as bad as it looked, Nash was only riding to instruction. He’d have been crucified for holding him up and getting beaten. Case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t perhaps?

        • August 30th 2013 @ 11:07am
          Haradasun said | August 30th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Rain Affiar was murdered in that ride though. He should still provide a solid gauge for Atlantic Jewel. I certainly can’t see anything running past her and most of the favourites in the Memsie are backmarkers.

          I will also be watching Ferlax with interest. He is a solid horse and has the benefit of a run under his belt. And at 50-1 I won’t be complaining if he runs a cheeky place.

          From a betting point of view I think Fiorente is the value here.

          • Columnist

            August 30th 2013 @ 12:54pm
            Cameron Rose said | August 30th 2013 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

            Loving the debate over AJ’s prospects, all points are valid and it’s part of what we love about racing.

            The ride on Rain Affair last week was ridiculous, it’s almost a forget run, and he wins that if ridden more conservatively.

            In a sit and sprint, it’s AJ’s turn of foot that should see her win if Rodd can get her in the first four or five, which I think he will. The more I think about it, the more I like Fiorente for any upset though, similar to Haradasun above (confusing name if we ever want to reference the real Haradasun!!).

            • August 30th 2013 @ 5:43pm
              Haradasun said | August 30th 2013 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              I heard that said Gai has had a record of 10 winners from 55 attempts at Caulfield or some such over the last 5 years (courtesy of ticking all the boxes), which isn’t bad, so despite people saying Gai can’t win in Melbourne the stats at Caulfield would say otherwise.

              Some more food for thought.

              • August 30th 2013 @ 8:45pm
                Andrew said | August 30th 2013 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

                i very rarely miss a meeting at caul and would be shocked if this is correct. i recall descarado has won there twice, more joyous twice. aqua damore but that was more than 5yrs ago anyway. and mot much else. she had had a few placings tribal rock ran 2nd to sertorious, kabayan ran 2nd last year in the mc neil. im probably missing one or two but would love to see the full stats on this (appreciate you are just ‘passing on a message’)

        • August 30th 2013 @ 8:48pm
          paulywalnuts said | August 30th 2013 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

          Mosheen was one of the better fillies we’ve seen in recent years and AJ absolutely toyed with her. Sometimes its not just who they beat but the manner in which they do it. This is a special animal.

    • Roar Guru

      August 30th 2013 @ 10:10am
      Will Sinclair said | August 30th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

      Am I the only one who thinks Atlantic Jewel is a lay in the Memsie?

      She’s around even money, but we haven’t seen her run in months and months, and last start she was hardly dominant in winning a weakish All Aged (as Alfred says, she beat Rain Affair, and wasn’t amazing in doing so).

      Tomorrow she comes up against a genuine top class field, albeit one without any obvious WFA sprinters.

      And this is what Kav said about her:

      “It will be just good to get her back to the track. I’ve never lost sight of the big picture and the big picture is in October,” Kavanagh said. “Right now we haven’t got her totally cranked up. She’s not a Black Caviar-type sprinter horse.

      “She’s getting ready for a 2000-metre race so it would be foolish to crank her up first-up. I expect to her to improve through her preparation. I’m quite comfortable sending her to the races the way she is.”

      Surely she is a MASSIVE risk at even money tomorrow?

      I’d love to see her win (I hope she’s a genuine superstar), but she won’t be carrying my money… that’s for sure.

      • Editor

        August 30th 2013 @ 12:37pm
        Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

        I don’t think she’s a massive risk. She’s a risk, and that’s why she’s at $2 instead of < $1.3 😉

        • Columnist

          August 30th 2013 @ 12:57pm
          Cameron Rose said | August 30th 2013 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

          Haha, I love Tristan’s love of this horse!

          Seldom do I back anything at under $3 or $4, so I won’t be playing on her. The only question is whether she’s a one-out to come home in the quaddie.

          To offset Kav’s words, plenty of trainers have talked down expectation resuming in a race like this, but class is class and she’ll win if good enough.

          • Editor

            August 30th 2013 @ 4:27pm
            Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

            Hehe! She’s a gem. People forget too easily 😉

          • Editor

            August 30th 2013 @ 4:32pm
            Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

            Also, you’re far too sensible Cam. But more seriously, put a small quaddie on with a few one-outs, and then a wider one – if you’re having AJ beaten, anything could win!

    • Columnist

      August 30th 2013 @ 10:21am
      Justin Cinque said | August 30th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I’m so pumped for tomorrow, my instinct has me convinced we’re in for something special. The anticipation, I have anyway, is not dissimilar to the Monday on Cup week. And why not? spring is here and we’ve got a field worthy of a Cox Plate to kick us off in the Memsie.

      Tristan is right, I think Atlantic Jewel is vulnerable. Middle draw, best field she’s ever met by three lengths, pressure race, first-up for 18 months. I’m going to tip against her.

      I think from a betting perspective the way to play could be Ajeeb for a place at around the 3.6 mark. He’s drawn to lead, is rock hard fit, is the only 1400m specialist in the race. If he’s allowed to dictate, he’ll be there at the end. He has the PDL form and the fighting qualities you’d expect to see in a high-class leader. And we know, historically, leaders are hard to pass at Caulfield over the 1400.

      Of the big guns, I’m expecting big runs from Fiorente and Super Cool. I think they could win if they had everything go right. Both have run well over 1400 fresh previously.

      I think It’s A Dundeel is bad odds. He should be with Super Cool at a double figure price. There’s nothing to indicate he’s at his best fresh or will handle this level. And I think Green Moon and Happy Trails have shown they are tested at the very best WFA level.

      • Editor

        August 30th 2013 @ 12:38pm
        Tristan Rayner said | August 30th 2013 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

        Nice addition here Justin. Very exciting.

      • Columnist

        August 30th 2013 @ 1:03pm
        Cameron Rose said | August 30th 2013 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        I agree that Ajeeb will be thereabouts in the finish, although I don’t see him as a winning threat. Class always beats the fit horse in this sort of event. I see his main job as giving us a link between PDL and the rest of the Memsie field. Is certainly a decent place bet.

        I’m a bit Cool on Super at this early stage, and I’m not really sure why. I’ll be watching him with interest.

        Agree with all posts on Happy Trails not quite being up to this level, but he should slot in up front somewhere, and he does have a turn of foot. The lack of speed in the race, plus wins in the Feehan and Emirates (with 58kg) has him a very good place chance here.

      • August 31st 2013 @ 10:32am
        Bondy said | August 31st 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

        I’ve marked AJ at about 5/4 she’s unders currently at evens I dont want her being thrashed first up, ironically she’s the only horse to get near BC time wise for the past three years at most journeys.

        The rail is out 6 mtrs at Clfld so horses on the speed should hang on or backmarkers should be disadvantaged .

        Run to the Roses, laying Sidestep (set weights next time) and Zoustar, Eurozone looks beautifully weighted and should win today and go into the Golden Rose the Fav.

        Ajeeb should win the Clfd Gns Justin a nose beaten by Puissance, handy form.

        Good luck on the punt lads.

    • August 30th 2013 @ 11:05am
      Rob said | August 30th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

      What an outstanding day of racing it is tomorrow.

      The Memsie deserves every bit of it’s G1 status, the field is slightly stronger due to its elevation and this can only be a good thing as we kick off the G1’s a week early.

      Great race, but simple for mine, AJ wins if right, I won’t be backing her, but I’ll be barracking hard for a few behind her as they’ll be in my cups doubles for later in the Spring.

      Then again, maybe we’re suffering from Black Caviar Syndrome and forgetting that it is awfully tough to win a G1 as a mare, against the males, after such a long break…

      • Columnist

        August 30th 2013 @ 1:09pm
        Cameron Rose said | August 30th 2013 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

        Great last line there Rob, and it is certainly food for thought.

        I love putting on long-term doubles at this time of year, a few a week for a bit of fun. Haven’t gotten one up in years of course, since Elvestroem / Makybe Diva at 225-1 in fact. The year earlier was Mummify / Makybe Diva at 180-1, and I was thinking “how easy is this!” Haven’t gone close since…

        Jet Away into Royal Empire is one I’ve done that I’m keen on.

    • August 30th 2013 @ 11:27am
      Haradasun said | August 30th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      I have to also echo sentiments about how exciting it is to have spring racing back!! Massively looking forward to tomorrow! I have it on good authority that Will Sinclair has already pencilled in Will’s choice in the last in Brisbane as his get out of stakes backup. I have no idea why though.

      I am firmly in the AJ camp here. I just think she wins. The swoopers won’t catch her and I have doubts about Ajeeb and PDL form out of that race (slow finishing time of 36.24). Admitedly he went hard early but I will be very surprised if AJ et al don’t finish right over the top of him. Super Cool, IAD, Fiorente all have some acceleration not to mention Happy Trails as well can sprint. I agree though that HT isn’t a genuine G1 horse though.

      Great start to the Spring, can’t wait to see it all unfold.

    • Roar Guru

      August 30th 2013 @ 6:34pm
      Trent Masenhelder said | August 30th 2013 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

      I just interviewed Mark Kavanagh on radio and while he didn’t give too much away, I feel even more confident about Atlantic Jewel’s chances. I got the feeling he’s pretty confident but being guarded. And rightly so given the length of time she’s been away from the races and the outstanding field she’s up against.
      I actually think we might see something pretty special tomorrow. If she does win, let’s not underestimate how good the achievement will be. Firstly, not many come back from tendon injuries (certainly not at the level they were at pre-injury). And 16 months is a very long time to be off the scene. Then there’s the opposition she must beat. It’s such a deep race. Group One winners all over the place and some handy, fit, in-form middle distance gallopers.
      ‘Kav’ told me she’s not a normal horse…the way she recovers from her races, the way she eats up, her manner, her professionalism, etc. We could be on the verge of witnessing something pretty special. Bring it on.

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