Marsh takes two shots at Pearl Series Final

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  • April 02, 2024
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Marsh takes two shots at Pearl Series Final

Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is giving two sets of connections the opportunity to claim a lucrative payday in Saturday’s Entain-NZB Insurance Pearl Series Final (1400m) at Ellerslie.

In addition to its $40,000 stake, the Rating 72 race for fillies and mares also carries Pearl Series bonuses of $70,000 for the owner of the winner, with $20,000 for second and $10,000 for third.

Marsh will saddle two runners in the nine-horse field, with C’est Moi joined by lightly raced three-year-old Imperial Empress.

C’est Moi races in the colours of respected owner-breeder Joan Egan and is by Vadamos out of the Stravinsky mare Lady Eiko, who is a half-sister to multiple Group One performer November Rain.

From 12 starts, C’est Moi has recorded three wins and four placings. She made an eye-catching return to racing at Ellerslie on March 2, dropping out to last before flashing home for third in a 1300m Rating 75.

“It was a super run resuming,” Marsh said. “This has always looked like a very nice race for her, and it’s ended up with quite a small field racing for that lovely bonus. I’m surprised there aren’t a few more in there.

“She’ll have to carry a bit of weight, but she’s had a go around Ellerslie and went really well, and getting up to 1400m suits. I’m expecting her to be very competitive. Craig Grylls rode her last time and sticks with the ship.”

Imperial Empress represents one of Marsh’s major clients, leading syndicators Go Racing. Their colours have enjoyed a purple patch of form in recent weeks, being carried by the likes of Marsh’s Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m) and Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) winner Velocious, along with last Saturday’s Gr.2 Japan Trophy (1600m) winner Diss Is Dramatic. On the other side of the Tasman, Go Racing’s multiple Group One winner Atishu scored a last-start win in the Gr.2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) and will line up in Saturday’s Gr.1 Australian Cup (2000m).

Imperial Empress finished third on debut at Te Rapa on January 31, beaten by a length by the promising You Say D’Orsay. A half-length maiden victory at Matamata came next for Imperial Empress, and the Satono Aladdin filly was a last-start fourth behind Valentine, Aquilifer and She Turns Heads at Tauranga.

“We originally only had her in the three-year-old race on Saturday, but once we saw the Pearl Final come up so light, we decided to put her in that race as well,” Marsh said. “We’ve accepted for both, but I’d be leaning towards the Pearl race for her too. She’s shown some real promise in just that three-start career so far. She’s a really nice filly.”

Imperial Empress will be ridden by Michael McNab. The TAB rates C’est Moi and Imperial Empress equal favourites at $3.80, with Te Akau’s topweight I Choose You on the third line of favouritism at $4.50.

Marsh considers the Pearl Series Final pair to be his best chances among a team of 11 horses at Ellerslie on Saturday. Another notable runner is the in-form Cambridge Stud homebred Arrowette, who is the $4.50 favourite for the final race on the card – the Skycity Horizon (1600m).


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