Memsie the highlight as WFA takes centre stage

6 min read

By Bren O'Brien

Two Group 1 weight-for-age contests highlight a huge Saturday of racing across Australia and New Zealand.

The $1m G1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie S. takes centre stage at Caulfield, while at Hastings, the G1 Tarzino Trophy, also over 1400m, represents the first Group 1 race of the New Zealand season.

Vega Magic (Lope De Vega {Ire}) is looking to become the first back-to-back winner of the Memsie S. since Sunline in 2001 and is favoured in the market based on his emphatic return when winning the Bletchingly S. at the same track five weeks ago.

The 6-year-old (Vega Magic) has a perfect record over 1400m and a perfect record at Caulfield

Destined for another shot at The Everest, the 6-year-old has a perfect record over 1400m and a perfect record at Caulfield and looks well-placed for a third career Group 1.

From all reports Kementari (Lonhro {Aus}) has come through well from his most recent run when fourth in the Winx S. He tried to match it with Winx that day and was found wanting and this race does loom as a bit of a crossroads for him. His previous visit to Caulfield saw him finish second in last year's G1 Caulfield Guineas.

Three-time G1 winner Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}) resumes in this race, having reached a new career peak in the autumn, where he won the G1 Doncaster H. The 8-year-old is winless in four starts in Victoria and has never raced at Caulfield.

Happy Clapper winning the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap

The strength of the form from the G2 PB Lawrence S will also be put to the test, with five of those who contested that race, including the winner Showtime (Snitzel {Aus}), taking their places in the Memsie S.

Credentials on the line in McNeil

Several well-performed three-year-olds put their credentials on the line in the G3 McNeil S, including the unbeaten Vain S. winner Tony Nicconi (Nicconi {Aus}). G1 Champagne S winner Seabrook (Hinchinbrook {Aus}) resumes and is on a possible Golden Rose trail as is the colt he beat in the Champagne, Bondi (Snitzel {Aus}).

Exciting sprinter Aylmerton (Siyouni {Fra}), now part owned by Coolmore, has his first start for Lindsay Park after campaigning for Jean Dubois during as a 2YO. The importance of this race as a spring guide is evident from last year's winner Merchant Navy (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), while horses of the calibre of Starspangledbanner (Choisir {Aus}) and Miss Finland (Redoute's Choice {Aus}) have won it over the past 15 years.

Kemono's Everest audition

The G3 Heath 1100 features two horses already locked in for a spot in The Everest, Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}) and Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}).

Santa Ana Lane is not renowned as a strong fresh performer and is expected to benefit from the run, while it is a similar story for Brave Smash who has never run a race over less than 1200m in his career.

Darren Weir still holds the key to the race, with in-form Voodoo Lad (I am Invincible {Aus}) expected to be challenged for favouritism by stablemate Kemono (Jpn) (Kinshasa No Kiseki {Aus}), who makes his debut in Australia having raced as Cassius in Japan. His owners are hoping to catch the eye of one of the two remaining slot holders in The Everest.

The G3 Cockram S. features a couple of quality 4YO mares in I Am Excited (Snitzel {Aus}) and Catchy (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), while there is also the Listed Heatherlie S. for the stayers.

G1 feature at Hastings

In New Zealand, the G1 Tarzino Trophy pits three of the best NZ 3-year-olds from last season up against the established weight-for-age campaigners.

Melody Belle (Commands {Aus}) already has the G2 Foxbridge P. to her name this campaign and holds a fitness edge against the likes of G2 Wellington Guineas winner Scott Base (Dalghar {Fra}) and G1 NZ Oaks winner Savvy Coup (Savabeel {NZ}), who both resume.

2017 Australian Derby winner Jon Snow (Ifraaj {GB}) hasn’t been seen since last year's Caulfield Cup but has the class edge on his rivals here and will be watched closely.

Hawke's Bay also hosts the El Roca - Sir Colin Meads Trophy for the 3-year-olds.

Concorde speed battle highlights Randwick

There are three Group 2 races at Randwick, but it is the G3 Concorde S. which will generate the most interest with last year's winner of The Everest Redzel (Snitzel {Aus}) and the most recent addition to the elite field for the $13 million sprint, Invincible Star {I am Invincible {Aus}, both kicking off their campaigns over 1000m.

This looms as one of the best clashes of the early spring, with Invincible Star having been off the scene since finishing a close second behind Merchant Navy in the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington. She possesses enourmous speed, but Redzel looks wound-up after his strong recent trial win.

The fillies and the Furious

The G2 Furious S. is the second leg of the Darley Princess Series with Fiesta (I Am invincible {Aus}) looking to back up her success from the G2 Silver Shadow S. two weeks ago.

Three of the horses who she beat that day return here, including Outback Barbie (Spirit of Boom {Aus}) and Oohood (I Am invincible {Aus}).

But it is the two fillies who resume into this race who are fancied to provide the toughest challenge. Pure Elation (I Am invincible {Aus}) beat Fiesta at this track and distance in the autumn and looks to have taken significant improvement while Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}) is one of the boom horses of the spring already.

Impeccably bred, being out of Samantha Miss who won this race ten years ago, Miss Fabulass has had just two starts but looks a star in the making.

Chelmsford and Tramway key guides

The G2 Chelmsford S. at weight-for age over the 1600m probably lacks a bit of depth, with ATC Oaks winner Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) at the top of the market off the back of her first-up sixth in the Winx S.

Unforgotten winning at Rosehill

The last two winners of the Victoria Derby, Prized Icon (More Than Ready {USA}) and Ace High (High Chaparral (Ire}) are also engaged while G1 winning mare Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt {Aus}) has her first for her new trainer Chris Waller.

The G2 Tramway S. is expected to be another chance for Le Romain (Hard Spun {USA}) to improve on his CV.

There are six previous G1 winners in the race, as well as perennial G1 placegetter Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas {Ire}).

There is also black-type racing in Adelaide in Perth, with the Penny Edition S. being run at Morphettville and the Idyllic Prince S. at Belmont.