Hong Kong contact a winning source for Marsh
An association with Hong Kong bloodstock agent Paul Chow continues to reap rewards for Stephen Marsh’s stable.
Chow, who operates under his Tartan Meadow Bloodstock banner, and the Cambridge trainer have formed a rewarding alliance with the well-travelled Summer Festival and Winning For All their latest success stories.
Summer Festival will run in Saturday’s Heatstore Open Handicap (1800m) at Riccarton off the back of a gallant last-start second in the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) on the opening day of the Grand National Meeting.
That performance continued a good run of form from the imported son of Poet’s Voice, who was successful in last month’s Oamaru Cup (1600m).
“He’s a little beauty and he’s an Italian Derby (Gr.2, 2200m) winner so we’d like to think we’ve added a bit more prestige to the Oamaru Cup,” Marsh said.
“He was very good the other day at Riccarton and is a cool horse and one of the stable favourites, he’s really come back well this time.
“He could find himself in a race like the Spring Classic (Listed, 2000m) back at Riccarton during the New Zealand Cup carnival.”
The now eight-year-old was a multiple stakes winner in Italy before a stint in Hong Kong with trainer Peter Ho where he placed, but failed to add to his victory roll of honour.
“We got a horse through Paul Chow and Alex Oliveira, they gave us Packing Joy to train and he did a good job and Paul said I’ve got another one up here that I’ll send back and that was Summer Festival,” Marsh said.
“We bought a horse together at the sales 18 months ago and since sold that and it’s gone on from there. Now they have sent Winning For All back here as well.”
He was a winner as Battle Strike in Queensland before he relocated to the Hong Kong stable of Francis Lui and doubled his tally during an extended stay.
Winning For All made an encouraging New Zealand debut when third at Ruakaka last weekend behind dual Group One winner Imperatriz.
“He was super the other day and we’ll try and get him into the Foxbridge Plate (Gr.2, 1200m), he might sneak into that and deserves his chance,” Marsh said.
“We have nominated him for the Tarzino Trophy (Gr.1, 1400m) and if we could get him in then we would definitely have a crack at that.
“If not, there are a lot of nice sprint races over the Christmas period for him.”
Marsh rated Summer Festival, who again will be partnered by Courtney Barnes, as his leading chance on the Riccarton card.
“He would be right up there as our best for the weekend and I think another horse that is really coming to hand well is Bugatti. I think he would be our best chance at Tauranga,” Marsh said.
Bugatti will step out in in the iLine Clients Handicap (1600m) with Craig Grylls to ride the son of Charm Spirit, who finished runner-up last time out at Te Rapa behind stablemate Windspeed.
“He is really coming back into form and his work has been terrific,” Marsh said.
He is also looking forward to the spring return of his Group One performer Vernanme, who was a recent trial winner at Te Rapa.
“He went really well and he’ll have another quiet trial next week and I’ll kick him off at Te Rapa over 1500m on Sunday, September 4,” Marsh said.
Vernanme’s main aim will be the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on the final day of the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival on October 15.
“We will work toward the Livamol and he was Group One-placed three times at weight-for-age last season so we want to tick that Group One box with him,” Marsh said.
The son of O’Reilly finished runner-up last preparation in the Zabeel Classic (Gr.1, 2000m), the Herbie Dyke Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) and the New Zealand Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m).