Stylish Memphis "terrific" ahead of Menangle Group One
By Adam Hamilton
Star Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis is primed for her title defence.
That’s the last word from caretaker trainer-driver Jack Trainor ahead of Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Mile (formerly the Ladyship Mile) at Menangle.
And Trainor is adamant barrier one is a big plus rather than a potential query,
“Give me barrier one anytime, especially compared to something out wide at Menangle,” the young former Kiwi horseman said.
“I’m sure there will be a couple out wide coming out charging and trying to get across us, but I think she can hold them.
“She’s a naturally fast mare, very fast. I know she’s been driven sit-sprint a lot, but she’s strong and mature now. If I get the right run at the gate, I’m confident I can hold them out and we’ll keep the lead.”
Stylish Memphis, who brilliantly won last year’s Ladyship Mile to give Trainor his maiden Group 1 driving success, is unbeaten in three Menangle runs this Sydney trip.
But it hasn’t been without a hiccup.
“It wasn’t anything big, but she had a bit of a hoof issue before that last run. That’s why I was so impressed with how well she won. I thought she was vulnerable and needed the run because she’d missed some work. But she won easily,” Trainor said.
“She’s right where we want her for this week. She worked terrific this week.”
It’s a different story for Trainor in two of the other Group 1 “majors” at Menangle on Saturday night.
Exciting Kiwi filly Just Remember Me has to come from the outside draw to try and turn around a below-par NSW Oaks heat run last week when she finished fifth and just snuck into the final.
And Trainor’s gifted but enigmatic pacer Balraj also has a wide draw (starts from gate nine) in the Allied Express Sprint as he tries to qualify for the Miracle Mile. Only a top-two finish will get him in.
“The filly is much better than she showed last week. Cran (Dalgety) has been across all week so hopefully he can turn her around for the final,” Trainor said.
“We probably just have to go back from that draw and hope the likes of Madrid and Amore Vita go at each other and make it a truly run race. It’s a big ask from the draw.
“I was so happy with Balraj last week (second in the Newcastle Mile). He’s come back really well.
“I had my fingers crossed for a good draw where we could use his early speed to get a shot, but it’s tough from out there, especially with King Of Swing drawn so well (gate two).”