Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday, August 29th.
The 2020 Memsie Stakes headlines racing in Australia on Saturday, August 29th, with 15 runners set to line up in the 1400m Group 1 at Caulfield.
Trent Crebbin has assessed the chances of every runner in the race in his comprehensive feature race preview below!
The main lead up race, the PB Lawrence, was run at a muddling tempo. I’m expecting it to be stronger here. The camp of Begood Toya Mother has stated their intention to lead at a solid clip so he could be first across from a middle barrier. Streets Of Avalon has to come across from out wide and likely sits outside or presses on to take the lead. Savatiano comes across and tries to emulate her PB Lawrence map by getting one out one back. The 3yo Glenfiddich is a tricky one from barrier 10 with 50.5kg. If he’s quick enough he can hold out Savatiano and post her 3 wide. Arcadia Queen jumped quickly but was restrained first up. She’s drawn wide here and can go forward or back. She might try and slot in midfield but no guarantee she’ll get cover. Iconoclasm should hold his spot from barrier 1 behind the leaders, Gatting could be posted 3 wide if they try to press on from barrier 12. Behemoth lobs midfield, potentially on the rail from barrier 2 with Mystic Journey and So Si Bon covering him up from 4 and 3 respectively. Cascadian will try to be midfield with cover from 8 rather than right out the back like last start. The rest including Regal Power and Mr Quickie settle worse than midfield.
I’ve got it looking something like this, but if the two leaders do string them along, Savatiano should be able to get cover with Arcadia Queen trying to follow her. So Si Bon maps beautifully and the two WA horses Gatting and Arcadia Queen could be posted wide on a good speed. Behemoth will need luck from the fence.
1. Regal Power: I thought he was flat out disappointing first up. I know you can make excuses that he’s got bigger targets in mind over further, but his run was nearly the worst in the race and for a horse of his quality, that concerns me. That was his biggest losing margin since his debut over 1300m at Belmont. It wasn’t an easy day to run on at Caulfield and the tempo really came out of the race when they threw the anchors out, so the prospect of a strongly run race will suit, but he stays at 1400m and there’s simply no way you can back him off the first up run. He’d want to be at least hitting the line strongly here to be any consideration for a spring major over further, but not today.
2. Harlem: The 9yo is back for another Spring. Dual group one Australian Cup winner (at huge odds), Harlem has never won first up from 9 attempts and never placed from 2 attempts at the 1400m. What I will say is that he does thrive on hot tempos, but he’s impossible to have here. He’s $126 fixed and probably starts double that on the exchange. He is adaptable in terms of his racing and does have some early speed, even over 1400m, but I can’t see them being positive and trying to sit just off the good tempo, so I imagine Mott will just drift back and settle worse than midfield. All they’ll be hoping is for him to go through the line okay, and I doubt he finishes in the top half of the field.
3. Gatting: The winner of the Makybe Diva Stakes at $101 last Spring comes here first up after a let up from a 3 run WA campaign which was solid. He was good first up in the Roma Cup behind Vega Magic, settling back and hitting the line strongly before a sound run 2nd up in the Belmont Sprint. He then went to the Hyperion Stakes and was awful as an $8.5 chance, beaten 9.1L. He comes back to Melbourne here for another attempt at a group one, but he’s clearly not going as well this time in. Last Spring he won the Hyperion before running 2nd to Galaxy Star. He was a $101 pop in his group 1 win over a mile but is going worse this time in at 1400m which is short of his best, and he’s $41. The map is also very sticky drawn wide, and he’ll hope the field strings out a bit so he can find cover midfield. On his day he’s not completely hopeless, but even at the $41 he looks unders.
4. So Si Bon: I gave him a good chance in the Aurie’s Star first up and thought his run was a pass mark, finishing 4th with 60kg down the straight. He had every chance there but is perhaps better suited here despite it being a much tougher race. Interestingly he’s never won 2nd up, but he hasn’t won many races at all so that’s more a knock on him rather than his 2nd up stats. I made a point before his first up run that since he’s been gelded, his record away from group 1 company is very consistent, but here he is in a group 1 race. He’s also better over 1600m, having never won at the 7 furlongs here. There is a case to be made though. He did run 2nd in this race las year in what I would argue was a stronger event, and he was 2nd up there. He split Scales Of Justice and Alizee, with Hartnell, Begood Toya Mother and Black Heart Bart behind him. A repeat of that effort goes very close here, but that was probably the best run of his career. The other positive for him is that he loves fast races. The more brutal the tempo the better, because he has to focus on racing and nothing else. He also maps very nicely midfield one off the fence. I’m not backing him on Saturday because he’s not consistently good enough at group 1 level, but it wouldn’t shock me to see him run a big race.
5. Streets Of Avalon: I made a case for him in the PB Lawrence, but in hindsight I should have known better on a soft 6. The horse simply doesn’t go a yard in the wet and needs a bone dry track. We might get to a good 4 on the day with nice weather predicted for Friday and Saturday, but even still I’m not sure this is his race. He won his group 1 at this track and distance in the Futurity Stakes, but he was the beneficiary of a savage rail bias that day and had an uncontested lead. I have him mapped outside Begood Toya Mother, although 3rd up here they might go full handlebars down and set a cracking pace in front. Not saying he can’t win, but the horse is at his best when able to control a race in front, and I’m not sure he gets that here. If we get to a good 4 and it’s hard to make ground on the day he’ll firm because he ticks a lot of stats boxes that way, with an ominous 10: 4-2-1 track & distance record. Not the worst but you’d have to wait until a few early races are run to see if he’ll get an edge. Probably about the right price at $26.
6. Mr Quickie: Very interesting runner. They were originally going to run him in the open handicap but decided that he was jumping out well enough to have a crack at another group 1. He’s copped a fair bit from punters recently, going winless in 7 starts since his big QLD Derby win. I’m not really sure what Mr Quickie’s optimum distance is either. Originally, he looked like a 2000-2400m horse, but his run in the Turnbull last year was poor, and his MV Cup run whilst running 2nd behind Hunting Horn wasn’t a great race. His run first up after the QLD Derby in the Makybe Diva was enormous, settling near last and storming home in the fastest last 600, 400 and 200m of the entire meeting to run 3rd behind Gatting. At his best he’s got potentially the best turn of foot in the race, but at 1400m here I’ll have to watch despite an outstanding record of 3 wins from 4 starts, which admittedly were a class 1, a BM68 and a 3yo handicap. Draws nicely but he has no early speed, so he’ll be worse than midfield. He’s got an outstanding SP profile so you could make a case the $26 is a big price, but he looks better suited 2nd up in a Makybe Diva if he runs well here. I won’t be backing him, but he could be the blowout.
7. Behemoth: The current $4 favourite coming from an outstanding win first up in Adelaide in the Spring Stakes. I loved that run, settling midfield off a fast tempo, getting to the outside and powering home to win by 1.8L from Dalasan, who is a $1.40 chance at Morphettville today. I think 1400m is his best distance and I did send out a tweet saying he’ll start favourite when around $6.50 all in. He’s the in-form horse coming into the race, and with serious queries about the main lead up, he brings the different form, a booming finish, and a bit of x-factor. 2nd up in the Autumn he ran 4th in the Goodwood behind Trekking and Gytrash, coming from last in the field and only beaten 2.3L at 1200m. Yes, the SWP nature of that race suited him, but it was still a big run and he only looks improved off that first up run. The problem I have is barrier 2. If you take a look at him, you’ll understand why he’s named Behemoth- he’s a monstrous horse with a big stride who needs clear galloping room to wind up and let down. From barrier 2 I have him midfield on the fence, because he won’t be quick enough early (he can miss the start) to stay outside Iconoclasm, and So Si Bon or Mystic Journey will be covering him up from 3 and 4. The fast speed plays into his hands because he can sustain a long run, and Willo will be hoping they string out and he has an opportunity to get off the fence mid race. If that does occur, he’s going to be very hard to hold out, but if he’s boxed in and the tiring leaders start to come back to them, he’ll have nowhere to go. I’ve already backed him at $6.50 but with his map I’d want a bit better than the $4 to back him now. I think he’ll drift a touch and you can probably make him a result, but the draw has me far less confident than if he’d drawn midfield. The horse to beat if he gets the luck, don’t let him go around without a saver.
8. Iconoclasm: Looks to be outclassed here. Loves the 1400m, draws to do no work and if he gets some luck, he’ll beat a few home, but his runs in group 1 company read: 14th, 11th, 11th, 8th, 8th. He’s also better at Flemington despite a win at the Caulfield 1400m. He’s fairly consistent so like I said he probably won’t run last from barrier 1, but he’s just not good enough to win, and I’d be very shocked if he ran top 3. Needs to drop to group 3 company to be a winning hope, and he should be triple, not double the price of a few group 1 performed horses that are $26 here. Could simply be a road-block for Behemoth and not a winning hope.
9. Cascadian: Very wary of Cascadian, who was the run of the race in the PB Lawrence. He drew the widest barrier, settled last off a muddling tempo but ran home very strongly to finish 4th, beaten 2.45L and running the 2nd fastest last 400m of the meeting. Olly sticks, and whilst he’s probably better over 1600m, he’s a big chance here. The map is a touch tricky, because they won’t want to be last again and have too much to do. If they have a 3 wide line which I think is a very real possibility, the ideal scenario would be getting the back of Arcadia Queen in the running line. If he’s slowly away as he was first up and settles near the tail, I don’t think he’ll win, but if he can be midfield, he’ll have clear air down the outside and that’s going to take him a long way to winning this. His two 2nd up starts in Australia have been solid, including a 2.8L 4th to Kolding and Fierce Impact, who at the time were absolutely flying. I’m not convinced he’s a WFA group 1 horse, but he could prove that in the Memsie on Saturday. He’s probably about the right price and I couldn’t talk you out of him but just not for me.
10. Begood Toya Mother: Clearly, clearly the value in the race for me. He rose through the grades exceptionally last Spring, running 6th in this race last year before going to the Rupert Clark and posting a very tough win outside the leader, holding them at bay by 1.25L. He simply didn’t come up in the Autumn, with a broken down horse taking him out of the race first up. After that he just didn’t show up, but he looked to be back from some work early on and confirmed that with a very good run first up in the Regal Roller. He carried 61.5kg there leading and was in front for a long time, showing his customary fight but fitness just giving out late to run 4th, conceding 2.5kg to the 2nd placed Age Of Chivalry. Going back to his Memsie run last year, he led on a tough day to do so. The camp has stated that they aren’t mucking around here and will be making this a truly run contest. Drawn barrier 7 I’m confident he gets the lead and kicks up to hold out Streets Of Avalon from out wide. Any juice in the track is perfectly fine, he’s 2/3 when 2nd up 4/6 at the 1400m and 3/6 at Caulfield. He touched $26 in final field betting and is around the $19 mark currently, which I think is an enormous price. He brings the different form to the chink-riddled lead up and will be leading and very hard to get past. He’ll easily be my best result in the race and at $5 the place is a fantastic each way bet. I can’t see how he doesn’t firm on race day, get on now!
11. Mystic Journey: Gee she looks at a crossroads here. I know she was wide in the PB Lawrence, but it wasn’t a fast tempo and she was nearly going backwards in the straight to finish 8th. The market hated her that day too, drifting from a final field favourite to $6 fixed price and much bigger on the exchange. Perhaps she’s a pure dry tracker and needs a good 4 to perform, but I’m just not sure where she’s at. To me she’s never been a superstar, and whilst she probably doesn’t have to be one to win here, I expected so much more first up, even if she wasn’t at full fitness. I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see her back to her best, especially on a good track and with a more economical run which she maps to get, but I simply can’t back her off such a poor performance first up. If she puts in another stinker a return to Tasmania or the barn beckons in my opinion.
12. Arcadia Queen: I thought her run first up off such a long break was a pass mark, at least. It was clearly a barrier trial for her after jumping nearly better than anything in the race, Lane put the brakes on and she ended up settling 6th, which is basically where she stayed, finishing 5th, beaten 2.55L. From what I’ve gathered, she was nowhere near fit and had plenty of improvement to come, which makes sense because the camp has been very open that she’s missed work and was effectively a run behind her stablemates going in. I also think she’ll be much better back on a good track as that was her first run on anything worse than a good 4. She also resented the slow tempo first up and over raced quite badly. Her Kingston Town win was so good and rated so highly because she was able to sprint quickly off a fast tempo, which she should get here. She’s still got bar plates on, and Bob Peters has said they’ll remain on here and possibly for the rest of the campaign to help rectify the feet issues she’s had. I’ve maintained that third up, hopefully with the bar plates off, is when I’ll look to back her because I don’t think she’ll be quite fit here. The map is also a bit sticky drawn out wide. If she jumps as well as she did first up and they try to go forward she’s at risk of getting caught wide. If they go back, she probably isn’t fit enough to round them up. I’d almost like to see them go back, let her sit back off a fast tempo and see if she’s still got it by letting rip down the outside. If she keeps trending in the right direction and lets down a bit better here, she’s right on track for the Cox Plate. I don’t think she’ll get out enough to back, but if she does somehow touch double figures, I won’t let her go around without me.
13. Savatiano: Winner of the PB Lawrence, thanks to an absolute peach from Zahra. Jumping quickly from barrier 3, she sat just off the pace on the fence, managed to ease around runners and peel out at the perfect time to chase down Sirrconi in the lead. As good as that ride was, this is even tougher from barrier 11. The 1400m start at Caulfield is notoriously bad to draw wide at because it’s a short run to the first turn, which is up hill. If she’s very quick away and the two leaders go fast early, she hopefully is able to slot in one out one back, but as I’ll touch on later, Glenfiddich won’t want the 2nd favourite to get the gun run and may look to take that spot and post her 3 wide. Savatiano also goes much better fresh than she does 2nd up. She bolted in first up last prep, started $2.35 favourite in the group 1 Canterbury Stakes and could only manage 2nd to The Bostonian, who is a good horse. In the Spring of last year she actually did win 2nd up at this track and distance, but that was in a mare’s group 2 and she got every favour controlling the race. I also think she’s better in slowly run races where she can either control the race or sit handy and use her turn of foot to finish best. This could be a completely different scenario having to work early and chase a hot speed, so I can’t have her anywhere near as short as she is now. Can win, but I can’t envision a scenario where I’m backing her under $10.
14. Princess Jenni: Handy mare, and her first up run last prep was good from the tail of the field at 1400m, but that was a listed race and she still only finished 3rd. She’s generally known as a bit of a 2nd up specialist and generally takes a run to fire, and from the wide barrier she’ll be doing nothing more than barrier trialling and just hitting the line for something easier in mare’s grade. Outclassed and will start triple figures on the exchange.
15. Glenfiddich: Very interesting runner, being the first 3yo to tackle the Memsie since 1995. He’s a pretty handy horse and ran an excellent 2nd in the Champagne behind King’s Legacy at his last start, but this is a whole different level. Yes, he only carries 50.5kg, but if he wins this it speaks more about our WFA ranks than it does about him. With the light weight I expect them to try and beat Savatiano to the 1-1 and try to keep her wide early. He looked very well in a recent piece of work, cruising to the line under his own steam while now stablemate Gatting had to be felt for. I don’t give Gatting a chance here and it was only a piece of trackwork, but he looks to have come back very well. Wouldn’t completely shock me if they used the light weight to take off early and play catch me if you can, but historically this is going to be too tough.
Very tough race to analyse, and map. Personally I’ve already backed two runners- Behemoth and Begood Toya Mother, and I’m happy to stick with them. I think Behemoth will get out a touch on race day, but if he doesn’t, I could only recommend a saver or small result on him. I loved the first up win and the different form he brings but hate barrier 2 for a big horse like him that needs room. I think Begood Toya Mother is outstanding value at $19 and expect him to start much shorter, especially if there’s any leader bias on the day. I’m terrified of Arcadia Queen because I know how good she is and how underdone she was first up, but I don’t love the map and think she might need one more. She’ll love the fast tempo though and can win on class. Savatiano is obviously a hope but was gifted the PB Lawrence, and Cascadian was the run of that race and can win if not too far back.
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