Last year’s Melbourne Cup winning horseman Darren Weir is looking to secure an early Group 1 win in Melbourne this season starting with Mahuta in next month’s Memsie Stakes.
Kicking off elite level racing for the season, the $500,000 Group 1 Memise Stakes (1400m) runs at Caulfield Racecourse on August 27 and is on the agenda for Weir’s Flying Spur colt Mahuta third-up.
The rising four-year-old has already amassed close to $1.7 million in prize money over his nine career starts that have produced six wins and a second.
Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and this summer – autumn season the youngster was in flying form posting six straight wins including success in November’s Group 2 Sandown Guineas (1600m) and the lucrative Magic Millions 3YO Guineas (1400m) on the Gold Coast in January.
In mid-February Mahuta won another Group 2 with a narrow victory in Caulfield’s Autumn Stakes (1400m) before his winning streak came to an end last time out in early March.
His trainer is hoping to make amends next time in and named the Memsie Stakes as a likely target after the horse impressed him during an 800m jump-out at Donald on Tuesday.
“He seems to be really good, he hasn’t got too heavy but he is a very big, strong horse, he is sound and well and the crew at the beach are really happy with him,” Weir told Racing Victoria.
First-up Mahuta is likely to run in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 30 followed by the $200,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 14 ahead of the weight-for-age Memsie.
“He is heading towards the Bletchingly, followed by the PB Lawrence and the main goal is the Memsie, which is the first Group 1 of the season,” Weir confirmed.
“Things can change and if he isn’t going well enough we can deviate but at this stage that is our plan.”
Weir is yet to prepare a Memsie Stakes winner but has twice run third in the feature from three runners.
Four-year-olds have a gun record in the race with six wins in the past decade, most recently Dissident (2014).
The last PB Lawrence Stakes graduate to back-up and win the Memsie Stakes meanwhile was David Hayes’ mare Miss Finland (2nd in 2007).
Memsie Stakes nominations close at 12:00pm (AEST) on Monday August 22 followed by final acceptances on August 24, 2016.