Trainer Stephen Marsh.  Photo: Trish Dunell

In-form stable on target for another century

Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
10 June 2024

A flurry of winners last month has put Stephen Marsh in a strong position to hit the century mark for the third season on the bounce.

His stable is currently sitting in second spot on the National Trainers’ Premiership with 88 successes, having posted previous tallies of 100 and 104.

While attaining the three figures isn’t Marsh’s top priority, it has now come more into focus.

“The 100 wins wasn’t exactly a goal, it is a good feeling though to get there and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to get it again,” Marsh said.

Results through May have made another century a more realistic achievement.

“I thought a month ago that we weren’t going to be a chance of getting there, but we got 13 wins in May which doesn’t usually happen,” Marsh said.

“We’re only 12 wins off it now, so we’re a realistic chance of getting there again.

“It’s really nice to reach the century, it’s not our main focus and when we started the season the aim was to win better races and more prizemoney.”

Marsh’s operation has topped $5 million in earnings and into double figures for Group or Listed victories.

“The stable has had 10 Group or Listed winners and that’s been our best, so at some stage it would be nice to beat that,” he said.

Marsh will have a big team in action at Wednesday’s meeting on the synthetic track at Cambridge including multiple contenders in the Entain/NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1550m).

Arrowette, Lovaci and Almaceta are an in-form trio who give the stable a quality hand.

“They are all racing very well and have drawn decent enough gates, so everything looks good about them,” Marsh said.

“They are very hard to split, they’re well-placed and should all be hard to beat.

“It really depends on the runs they get, Arrowette has been going super on the synthetic and the other two girls are bit unknown on it.”

Zoustar mare Arrowette has placed in all three runs on the all-weather course, including a runner-up finish at her most recent outing.

Lovaci was a last-start winner at Taupo while Almaceta was a late-closing fifth when resuming at Te Rapa.

“It’s one of those days when we’ve got a good, even spread of horses and I like the four in Rating 65 over 2000m, they are all going well,” Marsh said.

The quartet in the Pryde’s Easifeed Handicap is headed by last-start course and distance winner Hoard The Bourbon with ample back-up from The Green Keeper, Pow Tong and Eve’s Song.

Marsh is also expecting a bold showing from a daughter of Per Incanto in the Cambridge Equine Hospital Handicap (1300m).

“Hasstobefast is back on the synthetic with (Michael) McNab on and the side winkers, so we’ve got a few good all-round chances,” he said.

A three-time winner, the five-year-old ran fifth in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) before a break and will have improved with her resuming run for fifth.

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