A busy Saturday afternoon is looming for Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh, who has 19 runners entered across the Te Rapa and Wanganui meetings including strong chances in all four black-type events.
The first feature race of the afternoon is the Listed O’Learys Fillies’ Stakes (1340m) at Wanganui, which has been moved later in the season this year after previously being run on the same day as the Listed Wanganui Guineas (1340m) in early September.
The move has proven to be popular, with Saturday’s $80,000 race for three-year-old fillies drawing a strong field with no fewer than 11 winners.
Marsh expects a bold showing from Glamour Tycoon, who heads into the race as a last-start maiden winner by three and a half lengths at Ruakaka on November 14.
That was an overdue breakthrough for the Written Tycoon filly, who had placed in four of her six career starts before that. She was also a close fifth in the Group 2 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe, which later produced all of the first seven placegetters in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
“She’s been running really good races all the way through her career,” Marsh said. “She put it all together at Ruakaka last time and got an impressive maiden win that she really deserved.
“I think that win has given her a bit more confidence. She’s going really well and should be one of the main chances in that race.”
The Fillies’ Stakes will be run 15 minutes before the first of the day’s black-type features at Te Rapa, where in-form gelding El Vencedor will tackle the metric mile for the first time in his career in the Group 3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m).
The son of Shocking has been a two-time winner at 1200m and has scored three wins at 1400m. He has hardly put a foot wrong this spring, finishing third over 1400m at Ruakaka, fourth over 1300m on unsuitable heavy ground at Hastings, a close fourth in the Group 3 Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings and a last-start second in the Listed Fulton Family Stakes (1500m) at Pukekohe.
“He’s going really well,” Marsh said. “I thought his last-start run was very good. He’s been working nicely and is in good order heading into what looks like a wide-open race on Saturday.
“It’s his first time at 1600m, but we’ve given him a nice prep to get there. We’ve gradually stepped him up, 1400m to 1500m and now 1600m. I’d like to think it won’t be a problem for him.”
Te Rapa’s second stakes race is the Listed Trevor & Corallie Eagle Memorial 3YO (1500m), where Marsh’s runner is the promising Sinhaman.
Fourth and third in his first two starts, the Tivaci gelding scored a maiden win at the third time of asking at Rotorua on October 26. He then lined up in a Rating 65 against older opposition at Te Rapa, where he ran second and was beaten by a head.
“It was a very nice win at Rotorua, but he just did a little bit wrong that day so we put blinkers on for his next start,” Marsh said. “He looked home for all money next time out at Te Rapa, but he might have just got to the front a little bit too soon and wavered a little bit. We’ll look to ride him slightly further back this time and aim to be a bit more patient. It’s a big step up in class, but I think he can be competitive.”
Back at Wanganui, classy Waikato Stud homebred Mazzolino will make her middle-distance debut in the Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m).
Mazzolino is a full-sister to the multiple Group One winner Atishu. She has herself been a three-time winner including last season’s Group 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m), and she brings good form into Saturday’s $80,000 feature.
She finished third in the Group 3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and a strong-finishing second in the Group 3 Thompson Handicap (1600m), then was blocked in the straight when a close seventh in the Listed Fulton Family Stakes (1500m).
“She didn’t have much luck at Counties last time, but has come through it well,” Marsh said. “This is her first time up over ground. The way she’s been working, I think she’s ready to take that step.”