By Adam Hamilton
THE POWERHOUSE Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin barn has four runners in Australia’s biggest four-year-old race, the Chariots Of Fire.
Demon Delight qualified with a slashing second to prepost favourite Self Assured in the Hondo Grattan and the stable then completed “owned” last night’s qualifier, the Paleface Adios.
Stewart and Tonkin landed the trifecta with the brilliant Hurricane Harley leading throughout to win from the eye-catching stablemate Out To Play and Fourbigmen.
Although Self Assured is a $1.75 pre-draw favourite, it promises to be a fantastic Chariots next Saturday night.
The final field (pre-draw) is: Self Assured, Lochinvar Art, Hurricane Harley, Demon Delight, Out To Play, Max Delight, Culture King, Fourbigmen, Make Way, Rockin Marty, Catch A Moment (1st emerg), Supreme Dominator (2nd emerg).
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VICTORIA Derby winner Line Up is clearly the horse to beat in the NSW Derby despite having his colours lowered at Menangle last night.
The former Kiwi was astronomical in defeat, doing a power of work to find the lead the copping plenty of midrace pressure in a blazing 1min53.4sec mile rate for the long 2300m trip.
Stablemate Perfect Stride, who led for young driver Cam Hart then took a trial and had a much easier run, nabbed Line Up to win by a neck. They went the four splits of the last mile in 27.6, 29.4, 28.3 and 28.4sec.
Although trainer Anthony Butt doesn’t think there is much between the pair, Line Up’s run was clearly the better of the two last night.
Victoria Derby runner-up Governor Jujon was slightly disappointing in fourth spot after staying out of the early speed burn and making a midrace move to sit parked.
And former Victorian Youaremy Sunshine, sensationally-backed into favouritism at his first run for Craig Cross and Luke McCarthy, went roughly at times and never looked comfortable before dropping out sharply from the 600m to finish last.
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STAR Kiwi filly Stylish Memphis suffered a shock defeat in the build-up to the NSW Oaks.
Maybe she needed the hitout and the closing splits were superb, but $26 outsider Muscle Mach still sat outside Stylish Memphis and nabbed her on the wire to win by a nose.
Stylish Memphis, the $1.35 favourite, led easily from the pole, seemed to settle quite well through a very cosy 59.3sec first half and dashed home in 53.3 and 26.1sec.
Driver Tim Williams nursed her as long as he could down the straight and it looked like she was doing enough, but Muscle Mach snatched the win.
Stylish Memphis now heads to the Oaks heats next Saturday night.
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FORMER Miracle Mile winner My Field Marshal is right back to his best just in time for the great sprint race again this year.
It’s been a tricky preparation with an aborted WA raid, but trainer Tim Butt’s decision to skip the Hunter Cup and stick to Menangle racing counting down to the Miracle Mile seems to have worked.
My Field Marshal made it back-to-back Menangle wins when he overpowered the leader and favourite, Majordan, and staved-off an eye-catching Alta Orlando to win by a head.
Alta Orlando’s effort to get so close, from second-last on the home bend, was huge, showing he’s also right on target.
All Stars’ runner Chase Auckland was never a hope after going back to last from a wide draw, but there was plenty to like about the way he closed in the last 150m for a close fourth.
It will now be interesting to see which Miracle Mile hopefuls head to Friday night’s $100,000 Group 1 Newcastle Mile or wait for the two qualifying sprints at Menangle eight days later.
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CRAIG Cross won the $50,000 Group 2 Sibelia Stakes, but just not with the mare punters hoped.
Punters sent Cross’ much-improved mare Better Enforce out a $2 favourite despite a wide draw, but she drifted back and powered home late for an eye-catching third.
Stablemate Hows The Memory grabbed the win after leading early, being shuffled to three pegs and getting inside runs in a 1min51.2sec mile.
Kiwi raider Havtime did plenty of midrace work to find the lead and weakened late for sixth.