Now we’re talking. The big guns are beginning to come back in Sydney, and we have three Group 1 races in Melbourne to get into.
The New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes represents the start of what looks to be an even spring without the great mare in play.
The Memsies Stakes is a historic and iconic race with some very good horses on the honour roll, including – to name but a few – Humidor, Vega Magic, Dissident and Black Heart Bart, who returns in this race this weekend after being retired.
The field this weekend looks to be one of the best yet, headlined by talented Godolphin mare Alizee, which will be ridden by champion hoop Damien Oliver.
Second in the current future markets is talented up-and-coming Daniel Bowman-trained Begood Toya Mother, which is planning to continue its a six-win streak. He looks the likely leader in the field of sizzling speed, with multiple leaders and on-pace runners, all of which will suit backmarkers.
This brings me to the next horse, Humidor, who is returning from a long let-off after injuring a suspensory ligament in his run to a gallant third in the 2018 Cox Plate. I’ve labelled him a roughy if they go at a stupid speed, however. The spring seems to be his oyster over longer distances after an impressive trial last Tuesday.
If you’re looking for an in-form and hard fit horse in the race, Cliff’s Edge is your bet. Cliff’s Edge returned first up in the Bletchingly Stakes but looked underdone. Second up he rode a hot speed in the PB Lawrence Stakes, where he ran a tough second to spruced mare Mystic Journey. Cliff’s Edge is tough, fit and very honest and will be in the finish on the form he carries into the race.
Everyone’s favourite galloper, Hartnell, appears second up in the race on Saturday after coming through the PB Lawrence Stakes, where he finished third. I thought his run was a little poor, as he can do a lot more, and I’d suggest he was a little underdone and will take a lot of improvement out of that run. Watch for him to improve enormously on Saturday.
Overall the race on Saturday looks to be a great spectacle and a first look at what the 2019 Victorian Spring promises.