Memsie Stakes winner Black Heart Bart ($2.35) dominates the betting for Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington. The Darren Weir-trained six-year-old is attempting to follow the path of Dissident, who won the Memsie-Makybe Diva double in 2014.
While an impressive field has gathered for the Group 1, many of these runners will have their “Waterloo” later in the spring.
Black Heart Bart is being touted as a Cox Plate contender. Tarzino is second favourite ($13) for the Caulfield Cup and a $21 chance for the Melbourne Cup.
PRINCE OF PENZANCE
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner and he’s $34 to win the great race again this year.
Why he can: He’s back to Flemington, the scene of his greatest triumph.
Why he can’t: Did not get to the line with any gusto when second last in the Memsie. He’ll be better suited in longer races.
This nine-year-old finished second in the 2013 Cox Plate and is a three-time Group 1 winner, latest was the 2014 Mackinnon Stakes.
Why he can: He’s no spring chicken and while he didn’t win a race during the Sydney autumn carnival, he was beaten under two lengths in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. His three elite wins have been at this track.
Why he can’t: He could be past his best and usually takes a run or two to come to hand.
BLACK HEART BART
Odds: ($2.35 favourite)
Memsie Stakes gave this honest sprinter-miler his second Group 1 win.
Why he can: Returned from a spell and blew away his opposition in the Memsie Stakes. He meets many of the same horses here and is racing in career best form.
Why he can’t: Placed at 2100m in Group 3 company, but he is yet to win beyond 1420m. There is a slight query whether he will run out a strong 1600m at elite level. He had all the favours at Caulfield and it is unlikely this race will be run at a similar high tempo.
This European import won two Group 1’s in Germany. He finished third in last year’s 2015 Caulfield Cup and notched his third elite level win, the Doomben Cup, in May.
Why he can: He’s a very tough seven-year-old and deserves respect in anything he contests. He stretched out well in an 800m Flemington jump out win last month and is a first-up winner. Wet track enhances chances.
Why he can’t: His main goal is the Caulfield Cup, where he is a $17 chance. He won’t be wound up for this and is yet to win under 2000m.
Veteran Galileo gelding, who backs-up after unplaced run behind Awesome Rock in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Why he can: Has a fitness edge on most of these and won two Handicaps at Flemington in June. Ran a super second in the Lawrence Stakes, but wasn’t comfortable at Moonee Valley last Saturday so improvement on this track would not surprise.
Why he can’t: He’s a nine-year-old, had 48 starts and his biggest win was at Listed level. It will be difficult for him to start turning things around at this stage of his career.
Group 1 placed seven-year-old, ran third in this race last year.
Why he can: Turned in a super first-up effort when third to Miss Rose De Lago in the Lawrence Stakes. Proven second-up performer and out to 1600m on the bigger track is a major plus.
Why he can’t: Inconsistent. While he has been placed in three Group 1’s, he has not won a race since August 2014.
HE OR SHE
A handy gelding, with nine wins from 20 starts. He won the Group 2 Blamey Stakes at this track and distance in March.
Why he can: Was doing his best work late when seventh behind Black Heart Bart in the Memsie. Fitter for the run and extra 200m will suit.
Why he can’t: Better placed under handicap conditions and yet to win at weight for age.
Lightly race five-year-old trained by Tony McEvoy, $41 into $31 for the Caulfield Cup.
Why he can: Much fitter for first-up run when sixth to Black Heart Bart in Memsie Stakes at Caulfield. Better suited here at Flemington and is a second-up winner.
Why he can’t: Bit of a one-pacer and on the comeback trail after injury, so he might need more racing to peak.
Won last season’s Victoria Derby and Rosehill Guineas.
Why he can: Fitter for a first-up run when unplaced in the Memsie after getting well back at Caulfield. Out to 1600m around Flemington will be more to his liking and he’s a second-up winner.
Why he can’t: Was dour when resuming and gives the impression he is looking for 2000m and beyond.
He won the Australian Guineas at this track and distance in March.
Why he can: Dropped out early and couldn’t stay in touch in the hot tempo Memsie. At no stage did he look a winning chance or comfortable around Caulfield. He still managed to find the line well and will take great benefit from the run.
Why he can’t: There is a possibility he may also produce his best at 2000m or beyond.
Winner here at Listed level in UCI Stakes last year.
Why he can win: It is difficult to make a case for this four-year-old. His biggest win was at this track
Why he can’t: Not good enough and out of his league.
Former Kiwi mare, she was second in this race last year. She won the 2014 ATC Oaks and a prolific Group 1 placegetter since.
Why she can: Ran a super second in the Memsie Stakes and was the wind break for Black Heart Bart and took him into the race. She did not shirk the task when he went past her at the 200m and will strip fitter now.
Why he can’t: She is a real trier, but finds it hard to win. Her last win was at Ellerslie (NZ) in February last year.
Lightly raced Kiwi filly who won this year’s ATC Oaks at Randwick. New Zealand jockey Danielle Johnson takes over from suspended Michael Walker.
Why she can: Only need to regain her three-year-old form to be in the mix here. She was disappointing in the Memsie Stakes, but is another runner that will appreciate the bigger track at Flemington.
Why she can’t: Didn’t do enough first-up to suggest she is ready to match it with the older horses. Her best will come be over journeys longer than 1600m.
2. Black Heart Bart