Memsie Stakes History
The race was first held in 1899 but was previously a Group 2 and was not elevated to Group 1 status by the Australian Pattern Committee until the 2013-14 racing season.
The 1400m race is worth $800,000 and is subject to weight conditions and is eligible for horses aged three years and over – although it is rare to see three-year-olds compete due to the race being scheduled so early in spring.
Positioned on the season calendar as a lead into the Spring Carnival, the Memsie Stakes attracts a varied field of runners. Some trainers seek to use it as a first up run from a spell, although this has not discouraged entries in the past of less-renowned sprinter-milers that have been trained specifically for the faster paced 1400m race.
Past Memsie Stakes winners throughout history include many noteworthy and highly acclaimed horses which have gone on to win various other Group 1s and a handful even going on to win the Memsie Stakes a second (and sometimes third) time.
Among the list of winners are Heroic (1925 and 1926), Phar Lap (1931), Ajax (1938, 1939 and 1940), Comic Court (1949 and 1950), Rising Fast (1954), Dane Ripper (1998), Sunline (2000 and 2001), Makybe Diva (2005) So You Think (2010) and Atlantic Jewel (2013), who was the first to win the race after it was elevated to Group 1 status.
Sunline is the most recent multiple winner of the Memsie Stakes and those wins led to strong performances in the Cox Plate, which she took out in 2000.
Victory in the 2014 Memsie Stakes kicked off a memorable campaign for Dissident, who went on to win a total of four Group 1 races throughout the season, and subsequently listed a contender for Australian racehorse of the year.
Several other horses have managed win the event multiple times with Lord (1958, 1959, 1960, 1961) even proving a champion four years in a row. Eurythmic (1920, 1921, 1922), Waltzing Lily (1933, 1934), Coppice (1955, 1954) and Yangtze (1965, 1966) are others, while Sunline is the only horses to successfully back up consecutive wins in the past forty years.
As the first Group 1 of the season, the Memsie Stakes has shown to be an important preliminary for several Spring Racing Carnival events such as the Manikato Stakes with Dane Ripper and Sunline excelling in both events. Sunline also went on to complete the triple by taking out the Cox Plate in 2000.
Other winners of the Memsie Stakes/Cox Plate double include Heroic, Phar Lap, Ajax, Rising Fast and most recently Makybe Diva, who was victorious in three consecutive Melbourne Cups (2003-2005) before returning to win the Memsie Stakes in 2006.