BURNHAM BOY looks for double at Roxburgh

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We ride for Ricky again today at Roxburgh.

Burnham Boy (Sam Ottley) wins first-up at Gore


RACE 5 YUKO (2, fr. 2180m mob) Sam Ottley -“Wide for the last 700m at Winton and she stuck well. From the draw a chance if she can get the right run.” (Mark)

RACE 8 SHE’S A DAGG (4, fr. 2180m mob) Sam Ottley, and BURNHAM BOY (9) Mark Jones -“She’s A Dagg was really good winning for Ricky at Winton but has to take quite a step forward here. Top three we’d be thrilled. Burnham Boy showed his best at Winton and I’m hopeful again, thinking Just Wondering will take some beating.” (Mark)


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After a winning double at Omakau, Benny looks to add to that with three runners going to Rangiora on Friday.


RACE 5 SHADOW PHANTASY (6, fr. 2600m stand) Ricky May -“Good win first up, and he didn’t really like the grass track, either. A big jump up for him but an eachway bet.” (Benny)

RACE 6 MELODY’S MISCHIEF (14, fr. 2000m mob) Ricky May -“Trialled nice, working really good. A bad draw perhaps but she’s is ticking along well and would be hopeful with a bit of luck.” (Benny).

RACE 7 RANGER BOMB (2, fr. 2600m mob) Ricky May -“Looking well past that last start run. The win before that was no fluke, I like this horse. Really happy since that last run and we’re on target. All going well I’d like to go from here to a mile the second day at Nelson with him.” (Benny).

Benny & Ricky

Memphis leads the New Year charge

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Quality filly Stylish Memphis will try and go one better in Tuesday’s $150,000 Alabar Sires Stakes Fillies Final at Alexandra Park after a slashing second to hot favourite Amazing Dream in the Peter Breckon Memorial earlier in the month.

Stylish Memphis unwinds late for second to Amazing Dream in the Group One Peter Breckon Memorial Caduceus Club Stakes at Auckland on December 14. (Race Images, Auckland, photo).


RACE 4 STYLISH MEMPHIS (10, fr, 2200m mob) Ricky May -“All things are good with her since the first run up there. We’re obviously really pleased with her effort there. The draw looks OK, hoping she can slot through early.” (Mark).


RACE 2 YUKO (2, fr. 2400m mob) Korbyn Newman, and MAHIA (4) Mark Jones -“Yuko ran on quite good first up down here and gets a handy draw. Mahia battled after working mid-race and I’d hoped for more from him. Either good enough at peak.” (Mark).

RACE 4 BURNHAM BOY (10, fr. 2400m mob) Mark Jones, and NIRVANA BEACH (13) Matt Anderson) -“Burnham Boy had to burn along too hard early last start and I thought I’d abandon the 3yo race at Gore as a result and come here instead. He’s up to beating these. Nirvana Beach has both Benny and I scratching our heads.” (Mark).


RACE 2 SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (6, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“She did a really good job at Addington behind Aorangi who gave them all no chance. On her form you’d have to consider her a pretty good show.” (Mark).

RACE 3 BRING BACK LEAH (1, fr. 2000m mob) Sam Ottley, and ITZ ALLDOWN TO LUCK (4) Ricky May -” I thought Bring Back Leah’s run was on par to She’s A Dagg at Winton on the 21st so she must be some sort of show from the good draw based on her winning at Gore. Itz Alldown To Luck just got a bit racy and ran out all the way that day. He is a big raw fella but has the talent. Hoping he can show it, and he may then spell.” (Mark).

RACE 6 DONEGAL GILBERT (3, fr. 2000m mob) Korbyn Newman – “Korbyn heads down to drive him in the juniors race. A definite drop from Gore race which was really strong and he seems to have come through that well. Kensington Bill looks too sharp but he can fill a place here.” (Mark).

Four in quiet week for stable runners

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RACE 10 MICHELLE (8, fr. U1. 2600m stand) Wayne Higgs -“A change in shoeing and I’ve added the half-hopples to see if we can get a change in luck with her. Higgsy is in charge on the Coast and hoping she trots for him.” (Mark)


RACE 3 SHE’S A DAGG (8, fr. 2200m mob) Ricky May -“Very pleased with her at Winton from a bad draw and she cops another here. Ricky has got to know her well now and I’m sure she can win one soon.” (Benny)

RACE 10 DONEGAL GILBERT (3, fr. 2200m mob) Ricky May -“He actually had a couple of things go wrong at Winton the other day so some chance to bounce back from that. Some handy ones in this field and top three we’d be rapt.” (Benny).


RACE 10 MICHELLE (8, U2, fr. 2600m stand) Wayne Higgs -“She trotted all the way with the half-hopples on Boxing Day and we’ve taken them off this time as it did blunt her speed a bit. But pleased she got around safely. Rough chance.” (Mark))


RACE 11 ROCKAHULA JOE (1,fr. 2000m mob) Sam Ottley -“His run was average at Addington last week but so many horses didn’t perform on the day like they should have and I wonder if the track played a big part. We give him another chance from a good draw on the grass.” (Benny).


RACE 10 MICHELLE (8, U2, fr. 2600m stand) Wayne Higgs -“She trotted all the way with the half-hopples on Boxing Day and we’ve taken them off this time as it did blunt her speed a bit. But pleased she got around safely. Rough chance.” (Mark))

Maitland Saturday December 28

R4- #5 A Gift From Heaven
Mitch Chapple

Tough draw here in strong race , the 1 looks too good . Love to win this race again but we need some luck and then more of it.

Race 6- #1 Immortal Change
Guy Chapple

Drawn the red but up in grade significantly, place best.

Huge week for the Elite Team

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Mark headed south with a big team on Thursday while Benny is in charge of the Canterbury runners – they’re busy men!


RACE 1 SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (8, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“A gallop last start and onto the all-weather now. I think she’s a chance with a nice run through from the draw.” (Mark).

RACE 2 MRS WASHINGTON (11, fr. 1609m mob) Ricky May -“A poor draw for her. She really needed to draw one here. So plenty of luck needed.” (Benny).

RACE 3 MICHELLE (1, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“Mobile start and draw won’t bother her. Galloped last two on the grass so she needs to get that right.” (Mark).

RACE 4 OAXACAN DREAM (2, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“Nice maiden trialling well. Meets a good field first up and a top three chance from the draw.” (Benny).

RACE 6 ROCKAHULA JOE (2, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“A good solid effort last week. From the good draw in a field he looks a chance in he should be in the top few again.” (Benny).

RACE 9 RANGER BOMB (1, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“Hoping he’ll repeat the dose. Rated 1:56 and won very good last start and pretty hopeful he can win again from one.” (Benny).


RACE 1 DONEGAL CHOKINSCREEK (8, fr. 2400m mob) Sam Ottley, & YUKO (9) Ricky May -“Donegal Chokinscreek went alright at the trials and a top three chance with a bit of luck from the draw. Yuko is racing well and also gets a tricky little draw. Top three chance too.” (Benny).

RACE 2 ITZ ALLDOWN TO LUCK (6, fr. 2400m mob) Ricky May, & MAHIA (10) Mark Jones -“Itz Alldown To Luck is a pretty handy horse and Ricky got on really good with him at the trials. On ability a definite win chance. Mahia has done a few things wrong and needs to improve but hopeful he will on the trip south.” (Mark).

RACE 3 BRING BACK LEAH (2, fr. 1609m mob) Sam Ottley, and SHE’S A DAGG (14) Ricky May -“Bring Back Leah nicely drawn and she did go nice at the trials. In the first few from her draw. She’s A Dagg gets a draw that doesn’t help but her trial was good and she’s in this. Both fillies to be followed on the southern circuit.” (Benny).

RACE 6 DONEGAL GILBERT (2, fr. 2400m mob) Ricky May, and NIRVANA BEACH (6) Mark Jones -” Donegal Gilbert is a handy wee fella with a good draw. Hoping for a result there from good draw.” (Benny). Nirvana Beach gets a front row draw and a chance to improve though he needs to. looking for something more from him.” (Mark).

RACE 10 BURNHAM BOY (5, fr. 2400m mob) Sam Ottley, and SMOKE N REACTOR (8) Mark Jones -“Burnham Boy is a nice horse. He’s well drawn and should go close but in what is a pretty handy field. Smoke N Reactor has had her chances lately. The draw may stop her.” (Mark).

Burnham Boy (Sam Ottley) wins first-up at Gore


RACE 6 SHADOW PHANTASY (11, fr. 1950m stand) Ricky May -“Trialled up nice last week and has first race run here. One to follow and a top four hope if things go well.” (Benny).

Wayne says no to rush for Memphis

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She was almost sold a few months ago and now she’s staying put.


Top filly Stylish Memphis was to be well-settled in Perth by now after a sweet deal was agreed to by Western Australian connections, only to fall at a minor vet issue at the eleventh-hour.

Owner Wayne Higgs had constructed a deal to sell the filly but would retain the breeding rights at a later date, a good deal for all but ultimately one which did not proceed.

Fast forward six months and Stylish Memphis, a full-sister to wonderful race filly and mare Delightful Memphis, successful in three countries, is now regarded too good to let go.

If she retired today there’s great value in her progeny. She is now Group 1 placed after a stunning run for second to Amazing Dream in the Peter Breckon Memorial Caduceus Club Stakes at Alexandra Park last Saturday night.

Her potential to earn on the track, even through her three-year-old season is enormous, and as a four-and-even five-year-old mare there are opportunities on both sides of the Tasman.

So, while the fruits of her racing labour are obvious, the rapidly declining breeding numbers in this country quite simply increases the value of the top-shelf race fillies come broodmares.

Like the majority of our top fillies these days Stylish Memphis is by the great Bettor’s Delight, and that in itself is an obvious carrot for the discerning buyer.

As long as we can find the right outcross, a new super-sire to match with a plethora of Bettor’s mares, then yearling values will skyrocket in the next five years.

That could be Sweet Lou, or Captaintreacherous, maybe another.

And owner-breeders like Wayne Higgs, a man who has traded in more horses than most in the last two decades, knows this.

As breeding numbers drop, and they have again rather too significantly this spring, horse values will rise as a result.

We’ll return to those crazy sharemarket days at the national sales – it seems we’re not far off more regular $200,000 yearling prices now – big money for untried stock.

Wayne Higgs has bought and sold large numbers over the past 20 years

So, while numbers decrease quality and demand will always remain. And the likes of Stylish Memphis, and her big sister Delightful Memphis, who will return to New Zealand after her North American stint to breed, are to become some of the most valuable commodities in harness racing alongside all these wonderfully-performed, and bred, mares.

Higgs has had to make a few choices along the way. And not always the easy ones with the good money floating around.

But this week he told co-trainers Mark Jones and Brendon Hill she is not for sale amid another rush from big players across the Tasman to secure her post that brilliant Auckland run.

It’s a brave move, but a wise one.

Kick-off begins for the holiday season

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The race team will soon be out in force, this week more select numbers led by Stylish Memphis and Lulu Le Mans in the Group 1 $100,000 Peter Breckon Memorial Caduceus Club Stakes at Alex Park on Saturday night.

Benny fancies Fancy


RACE 1 FANCY (8, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“She got back and ran on well last time. Plan A is to go forward and Plan B is to do Plan A well.” (Benny).

RACE 2 SIOUX PRINCESS (11, U1, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“We know about her – she trots she can win – she doesn’t – then not.” (Mark).

RACE 4 SMOKE N REACTOR (5, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley -“Terrible I thought last start. A headscratcher just now. Outside place chance only the way she’s been going.” (Mark).

RACE 10 ROCKAHULA JOE (10, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“Really happy with him. He’s trialled super and providing he steps well he looks a good eachway bet.” (Benny).


RACE 4 LULU LE MANS (2, fr. 2200m mob) Maurice McKendry, and STYLISH MEMPHIS (11) Ricky May -“Hopefully Lulu can find the markers there. If she does she’s a top four chance. Stylish Memphis has drawn bad and will need things to go her way in this field from there.” (Mark).


RACE 7 MICHELLE (10, U3, fr. 2170m stand) “If she gets going this looks a fair race for her. Trotting all the way and she’s some chance.” (Mark).

RACE 8 NIRVANA BEACH (13, fr. 2000m mob) “He’s at my place for a change of scenery. Into the unknown a bit with him but he seems alright and hoping for a positive run from him in a handy field.” (Mark).

Quiet week with Xmas racing ahead

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RACE 1 SMOKE N REACTOR (9, fr. 1980m mob) Laura McKay – “Disappointed us a bit at Motukarara. She had a chance there. Wide gate no help here and we hope for better.” (Mark).

RACE 4 RANGER BOMB (3, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“Happy with him, working good a good draw and an eachway chance for sure.” (Benny).


RACE 1 SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (1, fr. 2400m stand) Sam Ottley -“Really pleased with her at Oamaru. Did everything right and all but won it. Would have to be a good eachway chance with a repeat of that.” (Mark).

RACE 2 MAHIA (5, fr. 2300m mob) Sam Ottley -“Not really any luck so far. Better than that and interesting to see how he goes on the grass. Would expect something decent if he likes it.” (Mark).

RACE 5 MAHARAJAH (14, fr. 2400m stand) “Just too far back in both runs this time up. Could be sold so may not run, he will go around if he’s not. Place chance.” (Mark).

RACE 8 MICHELLE (10, u1, fr. 2400m stand) Wayne Higgs -“Higgsy will jump on and have a drive as he’ll race her at the Coast, and or Nelson, at Christmas-New Year time. Good to see her doing everything right at Mot last week and she’s not too far away from some form again. Horse and driver both need the practice.” (Mark).


Willison, Deny Everything to the paddock

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Mark will take a mid-season break with impressive Addington winner Willison and maiden graduate Deny Everything, respective winners for the Elite team on Friday and Saturday.

Willison, who raced without luck at the Cup meeting, put his best foot forward on Friday with Mark in the sulky, though he’s ready for a break now.

WILLISON is off for a break after a lovely win at Addington

“I’d not been as happy with him, and even in the week leading up to Friday night until he worked nice on Wednesday,” said Mark.

“He can have as nice break over Christmas now and back for something bigger later – he’s good enough to run in a Derby.”

And off for a spell too is Deny Everything (4g A Rocknroll Dance – Lecerne Lil).

“He’d been a bit crook since going a poor one Cup day and has probably done a nice job to bounce back, win his maiden, and can now head out. He’ll be a better horse next time around.”

Deny Everything led throughout to win on the grass track at Oamaru, holding on by a head to defeat a very late lunge from Mongolian Conqueror.

Stylish Memphis, the third of the Elite Racing stable to win this weekend, is on a float to Auckland on Tuesday where she will meet up with paddock-mate Lulu Le Mans at Jeremy Young’s property.


She qualified the $150,000 Alabar Sires Stakes Fillies Final at Alex Park on December 31 with an end-to-end win in her Addington heat, cruising to victory in 1:57.4 rate for the 1980m mobile.

“She is still short of her very-best, but with a float trip up that’s an extra kilo or two that is needed for now,” said Mark.

Stylish Memphis will contest the $100,000 Peter Breckon Memorial on December 14 where a clash with Amazing Dream awaits.

Elite step out Memphis and Skippy at Addington

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Another busy week, headlined by Stylish Memphis, Fancy, and Skippys Delight taking on Sires Stakes races at Addington.


SKIPPYS DELIGHT (inner) and FANCY both tackle Sires Stakes assignments at Addington for Benny’s Swannanoa barn

RACE 2 MICHELLE (2, fr. 1980m mob) Sam Ottley, & SIOUX PRINCESS (10) Mark Jones – “Michelle has not had a trial and will likely need it. Thought it’s a good opportunity to kick her off in this race. Sioux Princess I’ll drive this week. If she does things right she is definitely a good chance.” (Mark).

RACE 4 FANCY (5, fr, 1980m mob) Sam Ottley & STYLISH MEMPHIS (8) Ricky May -“Fancy won really good last start, she bolted in. We’ll likely tuck in and with the right run she can be top three in this.” (Benny). “Stylish Memphis does have a tricky draw but very pleased with her trial and progress since Wyndham. She’ll go good again.” (Mark)/

RACE 7 SKIPPYS DELIGHT (6, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May -“Really pleased with him. A tricky little race being such a small field. He can win. I’ll leave it all up to Ricky what he does, he knows best.” (Benny).

RACE 8 NIRVANA BEACH (4, fr. 1980m mob) Ricky May, & WILLISON (5) Mark Jones -“Nirvana Beach has worked well. He hates Ashburton and we’ve put a line through that. Should go forward has good gate speed and won’t be far away here.” (Benny). “Willison will head to the paddock after this. No luck Cup week and I’d hope for some more luck here.” (Mark).


RACE 1 SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR (3, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“A race instead of a trial for her. A nice handy maiden trotter and though maybe she needs it is not the worst in the race.” (Mark).

RACE 4 MAHARAJAH (14, fr. 2000m stand) Sam Ottley -“No luck at Invercargill, they dashed a half and he was too far back. Tricky draw but I think the grass is going to suit him.” (Mark).

RACE 8 DONEGAL GILBERT (1, fr. 2000m mob) Zachary Butcher -“A much improved draw and he’s not been helped much lately. Good place for him on the fence there and with a good driver we’re hopeful.” (Benny).

RACE 9 DENY EVERYTHING (7, fr. 2000m mob) Sam Ottley -“Off-colour Cup week but he’s freshened up nicely and should go a good race given he’s a pretty handy maiden.” (Mark).


RACE 8 SMOKE N REACTOR (1, fr. 2000m mob) Sam Ottley -“Perfect draw for her and she does go well on the grass. Nice enough run last week. Looks a top three chance from here.” (Mark).

RACE 9 MICHELLE (12, U2, ft. 2170m stand) Sam Ottley -“She may back up from Addington. Nice race for her this one and wouldn’t be the worst safely through Friday night’s run.” (Mark).

Trans-Tasman Racing have runners at Newcastle tonight

 Race 3 – #9 A Gift From Heaven (Josh Osborn)

Trainer  “can’t draw a marble , looks a picture but will be driven with 1 run in strong race “

 Race 4- #3 Immortal Change Driver – Josh Osborn

Trainer  “1st up for new owners into stable, extra week to get blood right , expect forward showing in very suitable race “

 Race 7- #2 My Design Driver – Josh Osborn

Trainer  “did what we thought she could do last start , still learning what it’s about but happy with her heading into this.”

Dubbo Sunday

Race 6 #11 Takara Truffle Driver Guy Chapple

Good field for G2 50k race. She trialled well on similar track may need luck from draw with the speed on.”