Supremacy For Symons
Waianawa farmers Robert and Sharyn Symon finally got the prize they sought when Memphis Tennessee gave them the group two Alabar Southern Supremacy Stakes at Ascot Park on Saturday to go with Nek Time’s Southland Oaks three years earlier.
Both were driven by Terry Chmiel who also co-trained them at Leeston with wife Glenys. Last year the Chmiels had won the Oaks with Dibaba.
On the way to Saturday’s victory, Memphis Tennessee had raced six times in the province of his owners for four wins and two seconds. But Chmiel said bringing them to Southland to race was less about where his owners live and more a matter of maximising income.
“The stakes are that good, that’s why we come to Southland,” Chmiel said.
In October there were successive wins in a non-winners contest, a rating 49 to 56 event and then a Nuggets Final, all races carrying gross purses in the $10,000 to $12,000 range. The only slight hiccup came in the $20,000 Nugget Super Final at the Northern Southland Cup meeting in March. Left with too much to do turning for home, Memphis Tennessee closed rapidly wide out but came up a length short of catching the pace-setting Robyns Playboy and second was his lot.
Robyns Playboy set the pace again on Saturday but all of 500 metres out, Chmiel moved his charge into contention. By the time they turned for home, Memphis Tennessee was in front and a few strides later had the Supremacy all parceled up.
“I wasn’t going to be unlucky today,” said Chmiel.
In the Derby, a couple of starts earlier, Memphis Tennessee had drawn the outside of the second line, went back to get in and had to rely on a clear passage in the straight to make progress. It wasn’t there and they had to settle for a tidy seventh. In the Supremacy, they drew 10 of 10 or two on the second line. Chmiel was conscious of not being undone again.
“He was unlucky in the Derby, the outside draw cost him, but it worked out good today because they went hard early and opened up.”
On a track which had been classified slushy at the beginning of the day, Memphis Tennessee required only 3:24.4 to complete his one and three quarter length win victory, the manner of which was decisive.
For the Symons, who have always preferred buying over breeding, the full brother to Delightful Memphis represents another success for their policy.
“Justin Le Lievre found him for us,” Robert Symon said, “he was a two-year-old, Terry trialled him and liked him. This day last year he ran second to A Bettor Act in the (Diamond Creek) two-year-old race at his second start.”
Put aside after three goes as a juvenile, the son of Bettors Delight and Memphis Melody has shone at three with 12 starts yielding five wins and three seconds. It is one of those seconds that Symon rates most highly; the fifth heat of the Sire Stakes Series at Addington on the eve of Cup Week.
“A Bettor Act beat Memphis Tennessee and Jesse Duke, only noses separated them,” he said.
Having now won both the southern three-year-old features, Symon gets the chance to rate his pair and didn’t hesitate to label Memphis Tennessee better than Nek Time. This despite the filly later adding the Gold Coast and Queensland Oaks to her CV in a three-race Australian campaign which ended with a miss in the Queensland Derby. Not surprisingly, both Chmiel and Symon are already eying a possible winter trip to the sunshine state with Memphis Tennessee but not before doing more business on this side of the Tasman.
“There is a $40,000 three-year-old race at Addington (Sophomore Classic, 17 May) for him and group one winners aren’t eligible, then hopefully the Jewels,” Chmiel said.
Memphis Tennessee sits second on the leaderboard for the Three -Year-Old Emerald.