Pembrook Playboy favoured for Hannon Memorial

Nathan Williamson. Photo: ODT files
Nathan Williamson. Photo: ODT files
The benefit of recent racing looks to be the only advantage Pembrook Playboy’s rivals have over him going into tomorrow’s Hannon Memorial at Oamaru.

Punters have calculations to make before deciding on their selections, with the Nathan Williamson-trained pacer among several horses having their first start for the season in the Group 3 feature.

Pembrook Playboy, Stylish Memphis and those other fresh-up runners take on the likes of Classie Brigade and Henry Hubert, who have had the benefit of two recent starts on their road towards the New Zealand Cup.

Williamson has given Pembrook Playboy just the one trial heading into the Hannon Memorial, but he has seen enough from his pacer to suggest he will be highly competitive tomorrow.

“I think it’s just all dependant on the trip he gets,” the trainer-driver said.

“I think he is a bit stronger and a bit better than he was last season.

“But I expect him to keep benefitting from the racing.

“He is pretty forward, so he should go a good race on Sunday.”

Pembrook Playboy showed excellent standing start manners last season as well as his signature high speed.

That combination should give Williamson every option he needs tomorrow.

“He generally is a pretty quick beginner. I would imagine that there wouldn’t be many quicker out.

“If he was in front I would be more than happy to stay there, but if they come attacking I suppose you make your mind up at that stage.

“But he seems pretty forward and pretty well.”

Fellow 4yr-old Stylish Memphis goes into the Hannon Memorial fresh up but with the benefit of two trials.

But that doesn’t mean she is more forward than Pembrook Playboy.

After enjoying a longer spell than the likely favourite the Mark Jones-trained mare has plenty of improvement to come.

“We have got a big season. It would be good to replicate what she did last year but the big difference is we are heading to the (New Zealand) Cup,” Jones said.

So, that is the main aim.

“She is very, very fat and she had had two trials and they have been OK without being exciting, to be fair.’’

Despite his mare clearly not being at full fitness, Jones still thinks she can run a big race under the right circumstances.

“Definitely, if she does things — at the trials she has been fine from the stand — and she can possy up somewhere handy she won’t be far away.”

There are no fitness concerns with the Robert and Jenna Dunn-trained Classie Brigade and Henry Hubert.

Both have the benefit of having runs in the Maurice Holmes Vase and the New Brighton Cup in which they both produced excellent performances.

- By Jonny Turner

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