Delightful Memphis turns tables on rival

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Delightful Memphis, and driver Blair Orange, made the most of drawing inside arch-rival Spanish Armada to post their second Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat win of the season.

She was a comfortable winner of the $19,800 Auckland Alabar Sires Heat in the build-up to the big $150,000 final at Auckland on December 31.

The Mark Jones-trained filly, who won the first heat at Addington on October 12 and had to settle for second to Spanish Armada in their Addington heat clash on November 25, turned the tables in the Auckland heat on Friday, December 9.

Delightful Memphis (Blair Orange) hold out Spanish Armada in a 1:55.1 rate (1700m) in the Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat at Auckland on December 9, 2016. (Trish Dunell photo).

Delightful Memphis (Blair Orange) hold Spanish Armada in a 1:55.5 rate (1700m) in the Alabar Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Heat at Auckland on December 9, 2016. (Trish Dunell photo).

Blair crossed from the seven gate to find a one-one sit, while Spanish Armada eased to last, then getting checked and losing four lengths when Pakipaki broke back in the field at the 1400m.

Delightful Memphis and Blair peeled three wide when Spanish Armada loomed at the 600m and joined strides with front-running Utmost Delight at the 400m.

The smart daughter of Bettor’s Delight and Memphis Melody (Badlands Hanover-OK Deb, by Ok Bye-Deborah Dundee) lengthened out in the run home to hold the luckless Spanish Armada by 1 1/4 lengths.

Utmost Delight, a daughter of Bettor’s Delight and top mare Victor Surpeme in the Steven Reid/Simon McMullan barn, tasted her first defeat in three starts but was a creditable third stepping up to top filly company.

Delightful Memphis lowered her fastest winning mile rate to 1:55.5 over the 1700m dash, the leaders pacing their last 800m in 56.2s and closing 400m in 27.7s.

This was her fourth win, while she’s also been six times second, from 11 starts, taking her earnings to $133,042.

Meanwile Rocker Band settled for third behind champion mare Dream About Me, and Arden’s Choice, in the Group Three $23,000 Caduceus Club Northern Breeders Stakes.

Sam Ottley and Rocker Band crossed early from the seven gate to lead after the opening 200m, then trailed Ideal Belle, who in turn handed to favourite Dream About Me beginning the final lap.

Dream About Me won as she liked for co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen in 2:40.2 (1:57.2 mile rate) for the 2200m.

Arden’s Choice finished stoutly from a handy spot on the outer for second, 3 1/2 lengths from the winner, with Rocker Band unwinding late along the inner after clearing a pocket 150m out.

Sam was unable to activate the removeable deafeners on Rocker Band, who was still winding up at the finish.

The Bus, the first of Mark’s scheduled runners on the Auckland programme, had to be a late withdrawal for safety reasons.

The Art Major juvenile tried to jump a light tower shadow near the 400m, despite the addition of a shadow roll, in his preliminary.

By Jeff Scott