The David Jolly-handled son of Vinery Stud’s All Too Hard won consecutive editions of the 7 furlong weight-for-age contest, with former Hong Kong-based rider Brett Prebble in the saddle this time.
The win saw him become the first back-to-back winner since the New Zealand-bred Sunline in 2000 and 2001, and Behemoth became only the second horse in the last 55 years to take the Memsie Stakes in consecutive years.
The six-year-old gelding won the Group 3 Spring Stakes over 6 furlongs at Morphettville just two weeks ago, as he took a similar path to last season.
Behemoth and the four-year-old Unencumbered gelding Beau Rossa, who clashed in the Spring Stakes, met again in the weekend’s feature, only this time the result was not decided in the stewards’ room.
Behemoth powerfully charged into the race lead in the home stretch and despite the late challenge of the Linda Meech-ridden Will Clarken-conditioned Beau Rossa, the former just held on for the victory.
He won by a head from Beau Rossa with the race favourite and three-time Group 1 winner Toffane, a six-year-old mare by Ocean Park, a half length further back in third.
Ironically, Craig Williams, rider of the third placed finisher, Toffane, had won the Memsie Stakes last year on Behemoth, but knocked back the ride this season, when offered the mount on Toffane.
The 2021 Memsie Stakes’ winning jockey, forty-three year-old Brett Prebble, who only got the ride when Jamie Kah was suspended by Racing Victoria last week for having breached Covid-19 regulations, said of his unexpected win:
“That was pretty special. In racing there’s the highs and the lows and I’ve had them all. I’ve worked hard and it hasn’t come out of turn”
It was Prebble’s first Australian Group 1 win since Green Moon’s Melbourne Cup success in 2012 and his first win at the highest level in Victoria since the 2015 Australian Guineas aboard Wandjina.
The winning handler David Jolly admitted:
“It was great to watch. We are only in the spring. I think his third and fourth runs will be his best.”
Bred by Walings Bloodstock, Behemoth is one of two winners for his dam, the stakes-winning Zedrich mare Penny Banger.
He has now won three Group 1 races, has a race record of 10 wins, 4 seconds and one third from 24 starts, and has earnings of over AUD$3.2 million.
The son of All Too Hard had previously made $120,000 to the bid of Heritage Bloodstock out of the Tyreel Stud draft at the 2016 Inglis Great Southern Weanling Sale.
The Memsie Stakes, first run in 1899, has been a seven furlong race since 1980 and was a Group 2 race until 2013 when it became a Group 1.
Top Australian horses such as Phar Lap (1931), Rising Fast (1956), Galilee (1968), Manikato (1982), Makybe Diva (2005) and So You Think (2010) have all won the Memsie Stakes, with the latter being the last Ladbroke’s Cox Plate winner to do the double.
Trainer David Jolly has nominated a similar schedule to last season for his star, Behemoth, with the five and a half furlong Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on 18 September next on the agenda.
Behemoth will bid to become the first horse to win both the Memsie and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in consecutive years.
Photos: Racing Victoria Twitter account @RacingVictoria