Chmiel drive sees Memphis Tennessee reign supreme
By Jonny Turner
A host of feature races await Memphis Tenessee following his win in the Southern Supremacy Stakes at Ascot Park on Saturday.
The Terry and Glenys Chmiel trained three-year-old did not let his perfect run in the one-one go to waste when he won the Group 2 Diamond Day feature by almost two lengths.
Terry Chmiel had no option but to produce a level headed drive on Memphis Tennessee when the strap on his helmet broke during the running.
“He got a nice trip today, you need that to win any race,” the trainer-driver said.
Memphis Tennessee’s win in the $50,000 feature saw the three-year-old bank his biggest pay-cheque for his owners, Robert and Sharyn Symon, of Invercargill.
Memphis Tennessee has been repaying the Symons and the Chmiels for just over a year, after the pacer was purchased under timely circumstances.
“Mark Jones had him sold as a two-year-old but the sale fell through,” Chmiel said.
“I said I would be keen to trial the horse, so Mark bought him around to my place.”
“I liked him, so I said leave him here and Mark went home with an empty float.”
A further sale of Memphis Tennessee to overseas owners looks incredibly unlikely.
Buyers have queued up to buy the Bettor’s Delight pacer recently, but they have been wasting their time.
“We got an offer for $200,000 a couple of weeks ago.”
“But, for Robert and Sharyn, it is not about the money, it is about winning races like this. “
“They have been such good owners over the years.”
Memphis Tennessee’s unlucky run for seventh in the New Zealand Derby caught the eye of many, including those overseas buyers.
The horse was last on the home turn and was largely luckless when Chmiel looked for inside runs.
“He was unlucky in the Derby, the outside draw cost him, but he got a good run today because they went hard early.”
Memphis Tennessee will have the chance to make amends for that run and have a better crack at a Group 1 title in the coming weeks.
The three-year-old will target the Harness Jewels before plans for a Queensland Derby campaign are finalised.
“He has a $40,000 race for horses that are not Group 1 winners coming up and then he will go to the Jewels.”
“If he is still going good enough we will take him to Brisbane.”
An overseas trip meant trainer Tom Bagrie missed out on getting an up close look at his first group race victory as a trainer.
Bagrie was in Greece when Pressed For Time produced a strong front-running win in the Group 2 Southland Oaks Final.
Driver John Dunn had the Sportwriter filly in front soon after the start from barrier three and she simply never gave her rivals a look in.
The first group race feature on Diamonds Day saw Victorian owners Jean and Bill Fiess bank their second two-year-old win in a matter of just hours.
They enjoyed Group 1 success with Amazing Dream at Alexandra Park on Friday night, before Virgil won the 2YO Classic on Diamonds Day early on Saturday afternoon for trainers Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen and driver Tim Williams.