Contrasting draws for Kiwi mares in Sydney
By Adam Hamilton
Star Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis has snared pole position for her Ladyship Mile defence at Menangle on Saturday night.
The name of the race has changed – it’s now called the Queen Elizabeth II – but just like last year, Stylish Memphis is the one to beat.
What’s interesting is how trainer-driver Jack Trainor plays it early.
Yes, Stylish Memphis has some early speed, but probably not enough to hold-out the slickest beginners and she’s always been best when driven more conservatively early.
Slick beginners like Wainui Creek (two), Maajida (three), The Honey Queen (four) and Fairy Tinkerbell (seven) will all be bustling forward early.
Worst hit by the draw was another top class former Kiwi mare, Nathan Purdon’s Spellbound, who landed gate nine with a stack of speed inside her.
Driver Stewie McDonald will now have to drive her for some luck and rely on others to set the tempo to suit.
Champion driver Luke McCarthy confirmed he would drive last week’s brilliant winner Fairy Tinkerbell with Jack Callaghan aboard The Honey Queen.
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Luck was against the two “Kiwi” fillies in the draw for Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 NSW Oaks (2400m).
Amore Vita, now with Nathan Purdon, cruised to victory in her heat, but has gate nine for the final.
It’s even worse for Cran Dalgety’s Just Remember Me, who ran below her best when only fifth in her heat last week. She will start from outside the front (gate 10).
Local star Madrid, who led and brilliantly won the stronger of the two heats last week, is a commanding favourite from gate four.
She looks a certain leader and clearly the one to beat for trainer Jarrod Alchin and driver Cam Hart.
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Driver Luke McCarthy says King Of Swing is primed to launch his quest for an historic third Miracle Mile win at Menangle on Saturday night.
The champion pacer has drawn ideally in gate two and looks the leader in the $100,000 Group 1 Allied Express Sprint.
He’s won a qualifying sprint the past two years enroute to winning the Miracle Mile a week later.
No horse has won three Miracle Miles.
“We took him and Spirit Of St Louis into Menangle last Friday for a solid hitout and both worked super. They’re set to go,” McCarthy said.
Spirit Of St Louis will clash with stablemate Expensive Ego in the other qualifier, the Schweppes Sprint.
“It’s hard to split them,” McCarthy said. “Spirit Of St Louis has gone to another level and is drawn better, but I’d expect Expensive Ego to bounce back strongly this week.
“I landed in too good a spot at Newcastle in the one-one and it didn’t suit him when I sat in. I’ll be back to driving him tough this week.
“Don’t forget he looked a bit disappointing in the Len Smith Mile and when I drove him differently the next start he smashed the clock and won easily.”
McCarthy will drive Expensive Ego with Jack Callaghan continuing his association with Spirit Of St Louis.