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Early Speed An Issue In 2009 Memsie

Mark Kavanagh suspects bookmakers have got it right by posting rival Mic Mac as the short-priced favourite for Saturday’s Memsie Stakes at Caulfield ahead of his star galloper Whobegotyou.

The Flemington trainer, who will saddle up both Whobegotyou, $4.20 with TAB Sportsbet, and Sea Battle ($14) in the Group Two feature, believes Mic Mac ($2.60) has the edge over the rest of the 2009 Memsie Stakes field at 1400m due to what seems to be a distinct lack of speed in the race.

“You’d like to think Whobegotyou could pick up Mic Mac, maybe he (Mic Mac) isn’t a weight-for-age horse, I don’t know,” Kavanagh said.

“He’s (Mic Mac) a genuine 1400-metre-miler sort of horse against genuine 2000-metre horses that are (mostly) first or second-up. He’s probably got the wood on them.

“The way I see it he rolls along in front, gets a couple of easy sectionals, sprints home and the rest of them are good runs behind him but he’s got the prize – unless something takes him on.”

Kavanagh said Whobegotyou, who charged home to run a close second to Predatory Pricer when resuming in the 2009 Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks ago, had improved since his first-up outing.

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“He’s still got a bit of improvement in him but he’s tightened up nicely,” he said.

The 2009 Cox Plate favourite won’t be ridden any differently on Saturday, nor will Sea Battle who hasn’t raced since running second to All Silent in the Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in November.

“I’m not going to change anything with my two horses because of that (a lack of genuine speed), you often have problems with these early weight-for-age races,” Kavanagh said.

Steven King rides Whobegotyou, who drew barrier 11 in the 12-horse field, for the first time in a race while Craig Williams takes the mount for the first time aboard Sea Battle, who drew the inside gate.

Formerly prepared by Guy Walter and then for two starts by Tony Noonan before Kavanagh took over in November 2007, Sea Battle ran third to Jungle Ruler over 1400m at Ballarat first-up for his new stable.

He has won six races, including the Group Two Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last Cox Plate day, and run four seconds and a third from 13 starts for Kavanagh.

“He’s been a remarkable pick-up for the stable,” he said.

“Every time we put him around he’s taken the challenge and improved every time. I don’t know about tomorrow. He’s a six-year-old stallion and hasn’t raced for nine months.

“He might need one or two (runs) but he certainly gives us the impression that he’s worked good enough to be a chance in this race.”

Kavanagh abandoned an autumn preparation for the son of Quest For Fame.

“He jarred up on the hard tracks. We decided to back off him because he wasn’t going to be ready in time and get him ready for the spring,” he said.

“We don’t regret that at this stage. He’s in good order.”

Kavanagh said Sea Battle wouldn’t be sent out to lead but agreed he could settle third or fourth in the Memsie.

Article by Mark Ryan Aapracing

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