‘Memphis’ fights hard for second to Spanish Armada

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Overport Lodge filly Delightful Memphis, given a great trip in the one-one by Blair Orange, fought hard neck for a neck second in the in the Group One $138,000 Magness Benrow Sires Stakes Fillies Championship at Auckland on April 29.

However, front-running $1.30 favourite Spanish Armada wouldn’t be denied in the run home for co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen, doing enough to hold for back-to-back Group One victories at Alexandra Park.

Renske B, a stablemate of Spanish Armada, held third 3 3/4 lengths away after moving up parked with Delightful Memphis tracking up in the one-one sit.

Spanish Armada, in contrast to her front-running win, had exploded home from four lengths off the pace to win the previous week’s $113,406 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club 2YO Fillies Classic by 5 1/2 lengths.

The All Stars filly, who won in 2:41.9 2200m in the Caduceus, backed up with another slick run in the Sires Stakes Fillies Championship over 1700m, clocking 2:02.3, a 1:55.7 mile rate.

The pace was again slick over the final 800m in the Sires Stakes Fillies race, the winner going 56.4s and finishing off over her final 400m in 27.7s.

Spanish Armada, a daughter of Bettor’s Delight and Galleons Supreme (Christian Cullen-Galleons Cheer), has only been beaten once in five starts, all at Auckland.

The filly, offered by Woodlands Stud, was a $75,000 Australasian Classic Yearling Sales buy last year for All Stars Melbourne owner Jean Feiss.

Spanish Armada, a sister to Better Be Supreme (1:56.7 Aust, third in both the 2014 NZ Sires Stakes 2YO Fillies Final & NZ Yearling Sales 2YO Fillies Pace), is from a qualified but unraced sister to former top filly in Cheer The Lady (1:55.1 mile rate, 2240m, 11 wins & $314,658), the 2012 New Zealand Oaks and Australasian Breeders Crown 3YO Fillies Final winner.

She’s also from the family of another former smart filly in Nevermore (p3, 1:56.1, seven wins), the 1993 NZ 2YO Pacing Filly Of The Year.

Spanish Armada’s fourth dam No Regrets was a half-sister to 1972 New Zealand Cup winner Globe Bay.

No Regrets left six individual winners including a former Victoria Derby runnerup in No Equal (1:57.5 mile rate, 1940, 31 wins).

Another from No Regets in New Review, is the lightly-raced two-win grand-dam of Sires Stakes 3YO & Harness Jewels 4YO winner Franco Nelson (1:53.1, 14 wins & $602,512), the runnerup to Adore Me in the 2014 New Zealand Cup.

In a favourites night at Alexandra Park, Field Marshal, completed the Group One 4YO double for the Tim Butt stable, adding the NZ Messenger to his Taylor Mile win a week earlier.

Field Marshal (4h Art Major-Foreal), given a good run three and two back on the outer by Dexter Dunn, sprinted clear from My Kiwi Mate, with pacemaking Hug The Wind third, in a strong 1:56.6 rate (2700m).

Monbet, who opened a $1.14 favourite to win the Canam Rowe Cup, lengthened to $1.20 at tote close and gave his supporters no cause for concern.

Back early, he took command two laps out for Ricky May and sprinted clear to win as he liked by 3 1/2 lengths in a comfortable 4:06.3 (3200m) from outsiders Valmagne and Queen Kenny.

Marcoola (3c Sundon-Arabess) added the $80,000 Breckon Farms Northern Trotting Derby to his New Zealand Trotting Derby win for co-owner and driver Clint Ford, who races him with his father and the horse’s trainer, Ken Ford.

He wasn’t rushed early but took control mid-race and held easily from Temporale, who led then trailed. Fillies, High Gait unwound solidly late for third, ahead of Wilma’s Mate.