By Jonny Turner
Tough staying tests have Stylish Memphis fit and ready for her next Oaks challenge in yet another corner of the world at Ascot Park on Thursday.
The Mark Jones trained pacer will attempt to match her New South Wales Oaks victory and go one better than her runner-up effort in the Victoria Oaks when the group 3 Southland Oaks Final takes place on Southland’s biggest day of harness racing.
Stylish Memphis’ staying qualities can not be questioned leading into the 2700m feature, if the incredible times she ran in those Australian efforts are anything to go by.
And her fitness levels can not be doubted either after she helped set up a New Zealand record for Classie Brigade when clashing with open class horses, before dueling with fellow star filly Amazing Dream in her latest run.
“She has shown over the 2600m when she led up in a New Zealand record and with her runs in the Oaks in Aussie that the 2700m definitely won’t be a concern,” Jones said.
“She has had a couple of good hard runs the last couple of weeks, they have brought her on and they were definitely what she needed,” Jones said.
“Last week against Amazing Dream we thought it might be a walk around and sprint home, but they went a 1.56 mile rate, so it was good to get a good run in to her.”
Jones has been able to time his run in to the Southland Oaks much more easily than his last-ditch effort to qualify her for the race in July.
That means the classy pacer will strip at her absolute peak on Thursday.
“We had a foot problem about a month ago, but everything has gone good since then and she should have no excuses come Thursday.”
Plutonium Lady brings staying recommendations of her own to the Southland Oaks and gives Jones a strong hand in the race.
She has only raced over 2700m once, but made an excellent fist of it by running second and getting within three-quarters of a length of Amazing Dream in the Northern Oaks.
Jones admitted he was disappointed Plutonium Lady when she was well beaten by both Amazing Dream and Stylish Memphis in her last start at Addington.
But he hopes she can bounce back to her best on Thursday.
“She should have stuck with them a bit better, she probably was a bit disappointing last time.”
“Those two are class fillies, but she is better than that.”
“So, we are hoping for an improved run.”
“She has got a good draw [barrier 2] and has good gatespeed to get across get the right run.”
Jones hope the group 3 Southern Supremacy Stakes turns in to a genuine staying test to bring the best out in Burnham Boy.
He comes in to the 2700m event race hardened after racing older horses for much of his spring campaign.
“He has been racing good and the races do him good, he gets fitter,” Jones said.
“He is the kind of horse that he stays better than he sprints.”
“So, from the draw [barrier 4], if he could lead and run them it would be ideal.”
“If Spirit Of St Louis was on our back he might beat us for speed, but if he can run a really good time he can keep going.”
“He showed that last time at Addington when they went hard, the others ran past him and he come back.”
“He is a good stayer, so he is best out in front, rolling along.”
Samantha Ottley will drive both Burnham Boy and Plutonium Lady on Thursday.
Ricky May will take the reins behind Stylish Memphis.