Tue, Aug 23, 4:22pm by Bren O'Brien
Coming off a career-high six Group 1 winners last season, Darren Weir looks to have complete stranglehold on the first Group 1 of the 2016-17 season, with the top three runners in the early market for Saturday’s Memsie Stakes at Caulfield all trained by the Ballarat horseman.
Weir enjoyed a stellar 2015-16, breaking the national record for the most amount of winners in a season, winning his first Melbourne Cup as well as five other races at the top level.
Three of the horses who won those Group 1 races, Prince of Penzance, Black Heart Bart and Palentino, run in Saturday’s 1400m event as well as Group 2 winner Mahuta.
Black Heart Bart, who last campaign won the Goodwood Handicap and ran second in the Stradbroke, is at the top of the market at $2.70 with Sportsbet.
Weir seems to have improved the former Western Australian markedly and his owners are keen on a tilt at the Cox Plate despite the fact the six-year-old has never won over more than 1400m.
Palentino, winner of the Group 1 Australian Guineas last campaign, is $7 second favourite for the Memsie after a third first-up over 1200m a fortnight ago.
Mahuta ($8) comes into this race after two lead-up runs and will undoubtedly be the fitter of the trio. Mahuta ran third in the Bletchingly Stakes, and sixth in the PB Lawrence Stakes.
While Prince of Penzance is the longest price of Weir’s horses at $26, there will be plenty if interest in the Melbourne Cup winner’s first appearance on a Victorian racetrack since his historic Flemington last November.
He had a one-run campaign in the autumn, finishing second over 1600m at Morphettville.
For just the second time in his 25-start career he won’t be ridden by Michelle Payne, with Harry Coffey to take the ride.
Outside of the Weir horses, Victoria Derby winner Tarzino is quoted at $11 in his first start since finishing fourth when odds-on favourite in the ATC Derby in April.
The horse who beat him that day, Tavago, has also been nominated for the Memsie and is a $17 shot. The final field will be determined at acceptances on Wednesday.
In a sure sign that spring is close, Sportsbet opened markets for five of Saturday’s races at the nominations stage.
Impressive last start winner, Ocean Embers ($4.40) is the market leader for the Cockram Stakes, ahead of Miss Promiscuity ($6.00), Mossin’ Around ($7.50), Don’t Doubt Mamma ($8.00) and Telopea ($9.00).
Defcon is currently $4.60 favourite for the McNeil Stakes (1200m), which is also very open.
Markets courtesy of sportsbet.com.au
$2.70 Black Heart Bart
$11 Sofia Rosa
$13 He Or She
$13 Lord Of The Sky
$13 Alpine Eagle
$15 Entirely Platinum
$17 Rising Romance
$21 Charmed Harmony
$26 Prince Of Penzance
He may no longer be known simply as the 'no pokies' Senator, but Nick Xenophon is determined to pursue further gambling law…
The proposed merger between Tatts and Tabcorp hit another potential hurdle on Wednesday when a third-party consortium, led by Macquarie Group, launched…
One Sydney punter has admitted a $10 bet which he converted into over $66,000 thanks to a 20-leg soccer multi was a…