History against star fillies


Only two four-year-old mares have won the Memsie Stakes in the past 30 years, but some representatives of that group will hold centre stage at Caulfield on Saturday.

The two successful mares were Miss Finland (2007) and Magical Miss (2002).

AJC Derby winner Shamrocker, AJC Oaks winner Absolutely and King's Rose, who was well performed in New Zealand last season and is now in the powerhouse Peter Moody stable, will all come under close scrutiny in the Memsie.

There have been some star three-year-old fillies measure up the following spring - notably Ethereal - but the road is cluttered with mares who didn't take the significant step forward required to match the older stayers.

Along with the weight-for-age Makfi Challenge Stakes in New Zealand on Saturday when Scarlett Lady resumes, the Memsie could be a real market changer for the Caulfield Cup and even Cox Plate.

Of the three mares in the Memsie, Shamrocker is the highest rated in Caulfield Cup betting, coming in on the third line at $15.

Her trainer Danny O'Brien is not expecting fireworks in the Memsie, but admits the O'Reilly mare is reasonably forward in condition.

"She's not a particularly robust type, although she has definitely strengthened up since the autumn," O'Brien said.

"It might seem strange to say she has been immature when you look at her record and she has an Australian Guineas and AJC Derby win.

"She doesn't take much to come to hand and she has been ready to go for the past two weeks. But we picked the Memsie as an ideal race to start her countdown to the Melbourne Cup.

"The 1400m around Caulfield will be the least suitable race she will contest this campaign. This will be the first of four runs she has as a lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.

"After this she runs in the Underwood, then the Caulfield Stakes and then we have to make a call on the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate as her final lead-up race."

O'Brien noted the progeny of Shamrocker's sire O'Reilly usually didn't reach their peak until their four or five-year-old season.

The O'Brien-trained Master O'Reilly won the Caulfield Cup as a five-year-old.

The absence of a standout wfa performer in the Memsie has added to the race's intrigue as a spring shaper for some runners.

King's Rose won six of her 12 Kiwi starts before finishing seventh as favourite in the New Zealand Oaks at Trentham in March. Moody has expressed his high rating of her progress leading into the Memsie.

Story by Bart Sinclair, to view full Courier Mail story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's Racepixvic website click here

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