Marsh to continue autumn two-year-old trend

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  • April 22, 2024
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Richard Edmunds, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Stephen Marsh has made a habit of excelling at this stage of the season with his emerging two-year-old talent, and the Cambridge trainer is hoping to continue that trend in Saturday’s Listed TAB Star Way Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie.
Marsh, who also saddled juvenile first-starter Super Photon for a highly impressive victory at Rotorua on Wednesday, will be represented by Love Poem, Fillygizalook and Magna Memory in this weekend’s $100,000 two-year-old feature.
Prior to this season’s rejig of the autumn’s juvenile black-type features in the northern region, this 1200m race was run at Te Rapa and featured no fewer than four consecutive wins by Marsh – No More Tears (2015), Ugo Foscolo (2016), Ardrossan (2017) and Santa Catarina (2018).
Ellerslie will now host the first of the autumn’s northern two-year-old features over 1200m, followed by Te Rapa’s Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1400m) on May 4 and the Listed Staphanos at Novara Park Champagne Stakes (1600m) back at Ellerslie on May 25.
The best-performed of Marsh’s Star Way Stakes trio is Love Poem. By Snitzel out of a full-sister to Pierro, the JML Bloodstock-owned filly has had two starts for two placings behind high-class juvenile Captured By Love in the Gr.3 Taranaki 2YO Classic (1200m) and Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m). Love Poem’s only appearance since then was at the Cambridge trials on April 2, where she scored a comfortable victory over 950m.
“She’s a lovely filly,” Marsh said. “She’s beautifully bred and has made such a strong start to her career with those Group placings in her first couple of starts.
“She had a nice trial win the other day. We didn’t ask her to do too much there and it was on her home track, no travel involved, so it was good. She hasn’t missed a beat since then.
“A good track should suit her nicely on Saturday. It’s not an overly big field, and it looks a very nice race for her if she can get the right run.
“She’ll head out to the paddock after this for a nice break, and then we’ll work out a spring campaign centred around the 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m).”
Stablemate Fillygizalook is a first-starter but also boasts some impressive pedigree credentials.
“She’s a half-sister to this year’s Oaks winner Pulchritudinous,” Marsh said. “The owners are keen to have a crack at some black type. She’s shown some talent at home and deserves her shot.”
The Oaks Stud homebred Magna Memory is by Magna Grecia out of the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) placegetter Reminisce. The gelding is expected to take improvement from his debut at Pukekohe two weeks ago, where he produced an eye-catching finish from the back for fifth.
Meanwhile, Marsh also has last-start Listed Flying Handicap runner-up Provence contesting Saturday’s Gr.3 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m), while promising staying three-year-old Just One will line up in the Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m).
“We tried Provence out in black-type company for the first time at Trentham a couple of weeks ago, and I thought she ran a top race there,” Marsh said. “She drew wide and got back into an awkward spot, but found the line really nicely.
“I’m not sure she really liked the track down there, but she’s won at Ellerslie before and I’m confident the mile will suit her. She’s another one that can be very competitive with the right run.
“As far as Just One goes, it’s a bit of a throw at the stumps with a horse that hasn’t raced in a while. He trialled over 950m a couple of weeks ago, so it’s an unusual prep. But he had a good gallop over ground this week and is a clean-winded type of horse. I think he can run a bold race over 2100m in a fresh state.”

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