Day At The Track
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The new training partnership of Mark Jones and Benny Hill won it’s first two races at the Wyndham Harness Racing Club’s meeting today. Three year old Art Major colt Silent Major got the partnership on the board when he sat parked, then led and held on to beat Cassius Bromac. The winning margin was half a neck. “He’s pretty green and lazy but he’s a nice little three year old. He’s got good manners but he hasn’t done bugger all,” said driver Ricky May. It was just only Silent Major’s fourth start. He ran second on debut at Timaru, then he galloped at his next start at Addington. “He drew the outside of the gate. I was pulling him back and he stuck his head down and galloped so we just wrote that one off.” Silent Major is a half-brother to useful types in Back In Black, Hestia Franco and Heretic Franco. Stylish Memphis proved her class when at her first start as a three year, she took full advantage of a trail to sprint home to win the Kubala Seeds Stella Frost Stakes for fillies and mares. From a wide draw driver Ricky May took her forward to lead before handing up to Pearl Harbour. “I could have stayed in front but I thought it was probably the right thing to do first up. She probably needed the run today,” May said. May took the passing lane and held on to beat Total Diva. “I got a bit lucky, Becky’s one galloped (Might Be Me).” Might Be Me looked to be making the winning run down the middle of the track but galloped 30 metres before the finish line. “She hit the line and pulled up. She did it at the trials the other day but Bettor’s Delights are like that. The others were right on the outside of the track so she probably didn’t see them. That was the only thing she did wrong today.” In the presentation May said Stylish Memphis is likely to head to Auckland to try some of the bigger three year old fillies races. “She’s a pretty nice horse and we haven’t seen the best of her. This was only her fourth start at the races and she ran fifth at the Harness Jewels so she’s not too far away.” Stylish Memphis holds out Total Diva  with a galloping Might Be Me and Allan Beck (white cap) three out – Photo Bruce Stewart. May says the Jones and Hill partnership is working around 65 horses between them and is enthused with the new training regime. “They’re trying something different. They want to be competitive with the Purdons and the Dunns. With more owners it gives them more buying power to go to the Sales. It’s a big move and Benny was pretty nervous about it. He and Mark have been pretty good cobbers for a few years. The game needs things like this. I was with Benny at Addington when the news first came out and three or four of Mark Jones owners came up to him and said the move is going to be great. Benny’s owners are thinking the same I think.” Portabella trainer Steve Ashton has trained a few horses over the years with the prefix Sunnivue, and the latest, Sunnivue Phileah, won today at Wyndham. Other Sunnivue winners for Ashton have been Sunnivue Impulse (6), Sunnivue Ted (9) and Sunnivue Caesar (4). Tiger Moth provided Ashburton trainer Graham Bond with his first winner since Superfecta won for him in May 2017. Tiger Moth and Nathan Williamson winning – Photo Bruce Stewart Bond has trained 76 winners – most of which were from his Southland base at Drummond in the 1980s and ’90s. Abby May provided Milton trainer Lyndon Durham with his eighth winner today. He’s been training off and on since 2001 – his first winner was Chance A Knight at Gore. Abby May was having only  her thirteenth start today and was driven by Wyndham reinsman Craig Ferguson who also drove Sunnivue Phileah for the win.   Bruce Stewart

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