The Memsie Stakes is always an intriguing race early in the spring but it’s also somewhat of a game breaker for a heap of horses.
For many this is the first time they’ll step into open grade and for a fair portion of those the step up in competition is too much to handle.
This is especially notable in the mares ranks, many a star performing three year old filly has fallen by the wayside during the next spring.
That being said it’s not a hard and fast rule, Ethereal for example passed through the Memsie Stakes (as a three year old) and she went on to become one of New Zealand’s best ever horses.
In terms of four year old mares who have won the race though that’s a different story, only Miss Finland in 2007 and Magical Miss in 2002 have done so in the last three decades.
That stat doesn’t bode well for three runners this Saturday, AJC Derby champion Shamrocker, AJC Oaks winner Absolutely and the Peter Moody trained kiwi import King’s Rose.
These horses are being targeted towards races such as the Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate, so it’s vital they can perform in this grade on Saturday.
That being said trainer of Shamrocker Danny O’Brien says people shouldn’t be expecting too much too soon form the mares either.
He says Shamrocker will take a run or two to really hit her straps, but she has improved from the spell.
“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.”
He is buoyed by the fact her sire O’Reilly didn’t reach his full potential until he was well into his four year old season.
In fact his stallion making victory in the Caulfield Cup came as a five year old.