After two years of the Covid 19 epidemic preventing attendance at the Spring Racing Carnival, it was a welcome change of scene to head to Caulfield last Saturday to see the running of the Group 1 Memsie Stakes.
It is the first Group 1 race of the Melbourne Spring Carnival, so how could I miss it, especially as a whiz banger of a field had been assembled to contest it.
Back in July I had suffered a heavy fall whilst shopping at Woolworths and am still feeling the effects of it, but after much hesitation I decided to chance an afternoon at the races and see how I coped. The fine sunny day, after weeks of rainy weather, also encouraged me to take a risk.
It was quite strange to be travelling on public transport again after so long out of action, but I got to Caulfield around 1.45pm, in time for the fourth race on the card, the IVE > Handicap, a race over 1400 metres.
My friend Rebecca was already at the fence when I arrived so it was good to catch up with her.
New Zealander I Wish I Win, now trained by Peter Moody, started as favourite and won by four lengths from Gentleman Roy; a most impressive performance.
The Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200 metres) was next up and Aft Cabin started as the warm favourite, but he was upstaged by Jacquinot who overtook him in the straight to win by over two lengths.
A sprint over 1100 metres, race 6 was the Group 3 The McCafe 1100 Stakes (formerly The Heath) which was fought out by Generation and Shooting For Gold, the latter prevailing by a small margin to win.
Next on the card, Race 7 was the Group 3 Cockram Stakes for mares and a splendid field was contesting it, including two unbeaten mares – Passive Aggressive and Chain Of Lightning – who had each won their four starts. So it was a match race between those two girls with Passive Aggressive starting the short priced favourite.
Passive Aggressive took the lead shortly after the start, but was swamped late, first by Chain of Lightning who sailed past her in the straight to win by over a length from She’s All Class. Passive Aggressive finished fourth.
With the Cockram Stakes run and won, it was only a short wait for the feature Memsie Stakes. As previously mentioned it had attracted a sterling field that included several horses I had not seen before in the flesh, such as West Australian star Western Empire, who had won the Group 1 Railway Stakes last Spring and started as Memsie favourite. And it was good to see Alligator Blood back in Melbourne, as well as Snapdancer, Duais ,Tofane, I’m Thunderstruck and Lightsaber.
Snapdancer took the lead from the start and was never headed. She held on to win by over length from a fast finishing I’m Thunderstruck and Cascadian ran third.
There was an opportunity to get photos of some of the runners as they were heading to the barriers, so here are some of the contenders.
I called it quits after the Memsie Stakes and headed home. The injured leg bore up quite well over all, but was sorer the next day after the unaccustomed exercise.
Next Saturday the racing is at Moonee Valley, featuring the Feehan Stakes. I’m not sure if I’ll attend, but if Zaaki is running I might change my mind.
After being housebound for most of August I must admit an afternoon at the races was a pleasant change, which I’m sure I will repeat as the Spring Racing Carnival gathers pace.