Memsie Stakes 2022 Preview: Contenders, Betting & Winner Trends

Highly-rated galloper Western Empire is the favourite to emerge victorious in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

The five-year-old gelding produced an impressive performance to win the Group 1 Railway Stakes at Ascot last year. He is now trained by Danny O’Brien, a former Melbourne Cup winner, as he seeks even greater prizes this season.

He heads a talented field featuring the likes of Illation, Alligator Blood, I’m Thunderstruck, Tofane and Cascadian. It promises to be a thrilling race. Read on to learn more about the 2022 Memsie Stakes.


Race History

The Memsie Stakes is one of the oldest and most prestigious races in Australia. It was first run in 1899, when Veneda saluted. The race was lengthened to 1 18 miles the following year, and it finished in a dead heat between Eiridsdale and Massinissa.

The distance remained the same until the 1970s, when it was shortened to 1600m. It was cut to 1400m in 1980, and the Memsie Stakes has been run at that distance ever since. The race has always taken place at Caulfield, apart from a one-year hiatus in 1984, when it was held at Sandown due to renovations.

The Memsie Stakes was handed Group 2 status in 1979, and it was bumped up to a Group 1 race in 2013, when Atlantic Jewel saluted. It is seen as a key build-up race for horses targeting longer races such as the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and the Cox Plate later in the year. Those horses take on less heralded sprinter-milers, who often hold their own against their famous rivals.


Memsie Stakes Notable Winners

There have been several famous winners of this Memsie Stakes race over the years:

  • Artilleryman | This versatile thoroughbred won the Melbourne Cup in record time in 1919 after claiming the Memsie Stakes.
  • Eurythmic | A legendary finisher who won three consecutive Memsie Stakes, along with the Caulfield Cup. He was later inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.
  • Heroic | A back-to-back Memsie Stakes winner who also won the Cox Plate in 1926, before becoming the leading sire in Australian from 1933 to 1939.
  • Phar Lap | Widely regarded as the greatest racehorse of all time. He won the 1930 Melbourne Cup and two Cox Plates before enjoying success in North America.
  • Ajax | A son of Heroic who claimed a hat-trick of Memsie Stakes victories, along with the Cox Plate and various major races.
  • Tranquil Star | Yet another Australian Racing Hall of Fame inductee who won two Cox Plates, the Caulfield Cup and the 1945 Memsie Stakes.
  • Comic Court | A Melbourne Cup winner who also clinched two Memsie Stakes wins in a row.
  • Rising Fast | Another horse that completed the Memsie Stakes and Melbourne Cup double. Rising Fast also won the Cox Plate and two Caulfield Cups.
  • Lord | The most successful horse in Memsie Stakes history, with four straight wins between 1958 and 1961.
  • Galilee | The only horse to win the Caulfield, Melbourne and Sydney Cups in a single season.
  • Manikato | The 1979 Australian Horse of the Year, who won 20 races that currently hold Group 1 status. He is immortalised via the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley.
  • Dane Ripper | The Bart Cummings-trained winner of the 1997 Cox Plate, who was named Australian Champion Filly or Mare in 1998.
  • Sunline | A two-time Cox Plate winner, who also claimed the Hong Kong Mile. Sunline was named Australian Horse of the Year three times and New Zealand Horse of the Year four times.
  • Makybe Diva | The iconic mare that became the only horse to win three Melbourne Cups. She also won the 2005 Cox Plate en route to becoming the highest-ever stakes earner in Australian history. 
  • So You Think | A back-to-back Cox Plate winner who was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2019.


Memsie Stakes 2021 Winner 

South Australian superstar Behemoth claimed a second consecutive Memsie Stakes victory last year. He finished narrowly ahead of fellow Adelaide galloper Beau Rossa and favourite Tofane.

That made Behemoth the first dual winner of the Memsie Stakes since Sunline in 2000 and 2001. It came courtesy of a perfect ride from Brett Prebble, who only secured the ride after original rider Jamie Kah was forced into quarantine following a Covid-19 breach. Behemoth will not return in 2022 to bid for a third straight Memsie Stakes win.


Memsie Stakes 2022 Date

The 2022 Memsie Stakes will take place on Saturday, August 27. It will be the sixth race on the card.


Race Features 

The Memsie Stakes is the first Group 1 race of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. It is run over a distance of 1400m on the turf track at Caulfield under weight-for-age conditions. In that regard, it is identical regard, it is identical to the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes.

Some of the horses that contest the Memsie Stakes are expected to take part in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600m at Flemington two weeks later.


Memsie Stakes 2022 Field & Contenders 

An elite field will gather at Caulfield to contest the Memsie Stakes on Saturday. These are the leading contenders:


Western Empire

Big things are expected of the Western Australian star this year following his brilliant win in the 1600m Railway Stakes in 2021. He is currently fourth in the fixed-odds futures betting on the Cox Plate at $14.00 for a win and $4.00 to place.

Western Empire also won the Group 2 WATC Derby and the Group 3 Asian Beau Stakes last year, and he was also second in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic over 1800m. He was knocked about in that race, but he has fully recovered and he should be back to his best on Saturday, making him a formidable contender.



The Mike Price and Michael Kent Jr.-trained four-year-old has won all three starts so far. He was the 19th entry for the Memsie Stakes, and he is the lowest-rated of the nominations, which has a field limit of 16, but Price is confident that he will start.

The trainers hope to earn him a start in next month’s Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield. This race will be a major step up for Illation, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.


Alligator Blood

The Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap winner has been cleared to race on Saturday. He was initially ruled out after it emerged that part-owner Allan Endresz had been declared an undischarged bankrupt, but ownership has changed, allowing the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained gelding to take part.


I’m Thunderstruck

I’m Thunderstruck is fifth in the Cox Plate futures after winning six of his 14 starts, including the Group 1 Toorak Handicap over 1600m and the $7.5 million Golden Eagle over 1500m. It is a big ask to win this race first-up against elite competition, but trainers Price and Kent have warned punters to write him off at their peril.



Tofane was the favourite to win the Memsie Stakes last year following his victories in the Stradbroke Handicap, the All Aged Stakes and the Tattersall’s Tiara, but she could only finish third. She has since won a fourth Group 1 race, the 1400m C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield, which should stand her in good stead on Saturday.



Cascadian is yet another Group 1 winner, having clinched the 2021 Doncaster Mile at Randwick and the 2022 All Aged Stakes ahead of Tofane. He is a son of Epsom Derby winner New Approach, and his grandsire is the legendary Galileo, trained by James Cummings for Godolphin.


Memsie Stakes 2022 Odds

Fixed Win Fixed Place
Western Empire $4.6 $1.9
Illation $5.5 $2.15
Alligator Blood $6.5 $2.4
I’m Thunderstruck $6.5 $2.4
Tofane $7 $2.5
Cascadian $9 $2.8
Snapdancer $11 $3.4
Duais $15 $4.2
Earlswood $26 $6
Lightsaber $26 $6
Nonconformist $26 $6
Pinstriped $26 $6
Forgot You $34 $7
Callsign Mav $51 $9.5
Elephant $51 $9.5
Zeyrek $51 $9.5


Memsie Stakes Prize Money

The Memsie Stakes offers prize money of $1 million. It is a prestigious race too, which helps attract a strong field each year.


Memsie Stakes Winner Trends 

  • Favourites have performed well in the Memsie Stakes, winning nine times between 2007 and 2021.
  • This is a race in which roughies have struggled. Humidor defied odds of $21.00 to storm to victory in 2018, but he was the longest-odds winner in more than 60 years.
  • Second-up horses have won this race in 16 of the past 32 years, while there have been 11 first-up winners.
  • It has paid to avoid horses jumping from double-digit barriers. The only winner since 2004 is King’s Rose, who shot out of Barrier 11 in 2011.


Memsie Stakes Tips 

Western Empire is the deserving favourite in this race. He has looked very impressive at a range of distances, and he should be in peak form on Saturday. Alligator Blood and I’m Thunderstruck will provide fierce competition, but Western Empire should maintain the fine record that favourites enjoy in the Memsie Stakes.


**Odds quoted accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.