by Adam Hamilton
Mighty mare Stylish Memphis is heading back home for a tilt at the inaugural $900,000 The Race at Cambridge on April 14.
And another fine Kiwi product, young gun horseman Jack Trainor, is going with her.
The only question is when and how long Trainor returns home.
“I’m super excited to get a chance to go back home and drive in a really big race like this, especially on a mare who’s been as great to me as Stylish Memphis,” Trainor said.
“It’s happened pretty quickly. Jonesy (trainer Mark Jones) only confirmed to me last night she had a spot in the race so we’ve still got a bit to work through.
“The biggest thing is whether she heads back straight away or I give her the lead-up race here at Menangle.”
Concerns over the emergence of Japanese encephalitis in Australia could see connections err on the side of caution and send Stylish Memphis back to NZ in coming days.
“They’re not worried about her catching it, just wary of any restrictions on horse travel which could come about because of it,” Trainor said.
“Ideally, she’ll be able to stay here and have that last lead-up run at Menangle 12 days before The Race and then I can go across with her.
“But I understand the landscape and if it’s best for her to go earlier, then so be it.
“Either way, I’m driving her in The Race and that’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Stylish Memphis has been racing in fantastic form, winning her first four Menangle runs this NSW raid, including successfully defending her Group 1 Ladyship Mile crown on February 26.
Her only defeat came in brave fashion when she charged home late for second to Zeuss Bromac in torrential rain in the Group 1 Ainsworth free-for-all at Menangle last Saturday night.
Trainor said longer term plans for Stylish Memphis would not be finalised after The Race.
“She’s so well suited to the Aussie style of racing, I’d love to have her back her to target the big Queensland (Constellations) Carnival in winter,” Trainor said.
“That’s something we’ll talk through. The other option is to give her a good break back in NZ after The Race and assess things from there.”
Stylish Memphis (Barrett Homes) is the fourth horse, and first mare, to be confirmed for a start in The Race. She joins Self Assured (SENZ), Krug (Aussie Lads) and Pembrook Playboy (Dunstan Horse Feeds).
In 36 career starts she has won 15 times and securing a spot in New Zealand's richest race comes just a week or so after she missed out on a spot in the $1m Miracle Mile.