Amongst the Group 1s at Flemington on Derby Day is the fillies and mares edition, or what the Yanks might call the Distaff (a word seemingly exclusive to them).
Welcome aboard to Brent making his blog debut. Follow him on @HV_racingpundit to catch more of his astute discussion.
Group 1, AU$500,000, 1600m
1635 local, 0535 GMT
The Myer Classic which is run over the mile brings together the top fillies and mares from around the country. Since it was first run as an all females race (1988) there has never been a 3YO filly take out and a few gun fillies have tried. The great Alinghi back in 2004 went down by a head to Miss Potential and since then only one other filly has even attempted this feat. That brings me to my first horse.
STAY WITH ME
I must admit that I have being following this horse all prep, highlighted as my Thousand Guineas horse weeks I advance. I was not concerned when she never figured in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, as there was no speed in the race at all. She over raced early on before pulling all throughout the first 800m, yet she still managed to work home ok after all that went against her in that run. Her Thousand Guineas run was huge and for all to see. She really started to show some famous family traits in that run, as her mother Miss Finland was one serious horse herself. There is a vital key to this filly and that is to get her to settle and drop the bit early in the race so she can save everything she has for one last explosive run at them. With a moderate tempo expected we will see her settle right back and with the young gun hoop aboard Sam Clipperton, then expected to peel off them and have a crack at them down the middle of the track.
Is nearly one of everyone’s favourite mares. I had often asked myself of her desire to win a race as she has been a perennial place getter until she put away a solid field in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes back on the 22nd of August, since then she has been ticking over nicely until last start in the BMW Caulfied Cup. Glen Boss pulled her up well before the race was over without punishing her at all, and quoted saying that she just was never going to stay the distance. Prior to that she was huge in the Turnbull and the George Main which is serious Group 1 form. I am not a fan of any horse going from 2400m back to 1600m in a fortnight at all, but if anyone can pull that off it is the man of the moment Mr Chris Waller. Its been well over a year since she has run against her own sex and under weight for age conditions she will be a massive player in this. Expect her to sit up just off the speed and smoke the pipe of the frontrunners till about the 300m. The big question is, is she fresh enough for this.
Last start in the Tristarc Stakes she finished with a flashing beacon on her head. She looked to not handle the corner at all before running into dead ends early in the straight. That run had her calling out for a step up to the 1600m and a bigger track like Flemington. She will get back again from barrier 9 and will definitely see clear running here at this track. I’m expecting to see her peel off them once straightening and trying to mow down the leaders. This mare has a serious turn of foot and with in form jockey, Tommy Berry in the saddle you can ill-afford to leave her out of this. Specifically set for this race.
She is a tough 5YO mare who is obviously set for this race. Has only ever missed a cheque once in her past five second-up runs and loves the Flemington track. Only concern is her strength to run out a solid 1600m, as In the Tristarc she had a peach run and hit the front at about the 300m mark and gamely held on to only go down by a head in the final strides. With no wins over the distance you have to wonder if she is 200m off the trip, but Gerald Ryan is no mug trainer. You would have to be hard pressed to leave her out of the finish here.
This mare is already a Group 2 winner this prep after taking out the Lets Elope Stakes at Flemington. She won a group 1 at Caulfied last time she was in town and now with Waller back down here with her he is hoping to capture another. Her last two runs have been well below par but when you look back at them she was never in it. In the Tristarc she was three wide with no cover but still managed to fight to the line, the run before in the Sir Rupert Clarke she sat five-wide and worked way to hard the whole trip before tailing off. I think she will be well overlooked in the market and from barrier 11 all she will need is some luck to get in before the first bend at the 1400. She can really threaten a few of these in the finish if all goes to plan.
For me I’m going to go all out and stick with STAY WITH ME. Her last 800m sectional in the Thousand Guineas was too good to deny. Jameka franked that form last week against the boys. The 3YO fillies form this year is very very strong and I’m expecting her to be too good for this lot. If playing exotics standout STAY WITH ME and ROYAL DESCENT to win with the others to fill the placings.