NZ Horse Racing News: Lucrative targets beckon Marsh’s top youngster

Stephen Marsh’s immediate focus is on Ellerslie this Saturday with stable star Velocious, but he’s also got an eye on a following juvenile prize.

The Cambridge trainer is upbeat about her chances in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (1200m) and, all going well, a Central Districts venture awaits the filly, with the trip offering massive future benefits.

Velocious has won three of her four starts and the precocious daughter of Written Tycoon has ticked all the boxes since her dominant victory in the Karaka Millions 2YO (1200m).

“She had a little break after that and has done very well since, her trial the other day (at Cambridge) topped her off nicely,” Marsh said.

“She had her final gallop this (Wednesday) morning and everything looks bang on track for her.”

Safely through Saturday, the Gr.1 Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Trentham on April 6 is an attractive option, as it is the first of the bonus races associated with the inaugural running of next year’s NZB Kiwi (1500m).

“I think we will certainly be looking at that, she’s thriving and there will be a nice gap between races for her,” Marsh said.

“The Manawatu Sires’ is part of the $1 million bonus for the Kiwi, so it’s all on the radar.”

Velocious spearheads a quartet of feature race chances for the stable on Saturday, with El Vencedor and Skyman in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) and Nest Egg in the Gr.2 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m).

El Vencedor has enjoyed a lucrative campaign, highlighted by success in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) and he has also finished runner-up in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) and third in the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).

At his most recent appearance, the son of Shocking was a game fourth in the Gr.1 Otaki-Maori WFA Classic (1600m) and will head into new distance territory at Ellerslie.

“As long as he relaxes nicely in his first go over ground he should be fine and we thought we’d give him a go at the end of his preparation,” Marsh said.

“He’ll go out for a long spell afterwards, he’s bred to get the 2000m but he’s often been a bit keen. He has been so consistent this time in, so he deserves his chance.”

Skyman was an encouraging fifth in the Thorndon in his first appearance for the stable since relocating from Chris Waller’s Sydney operation and had excuses when out of the picture last time out in the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m).

“He didn’t get any favours and after jumping okay he got pushed back into a bad spot and was okay late,” Marsh said.

“I think it was a run to forget and he has come on well since.”

Proven stayer Nest Egg will relish a return to the ultimate flat trip in the Auckland Cup after proving his staying prowess in the spring when a close second in the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m).

Following a break after Riccarton, he has been unplaced in three lead-up runs but Saturday’s distance brings him right back into contention.

“He is desperate for the two miles and he’ll obviously run it better than most and he can certainly turn his form around,” Marsh said.

Of his other runners at Ellerslie, an in-form son of Tavistock is expected to give another top account of himself in the Go Racing Handicap (1400m).

“I really like the way the Financier is going and he should be hard to beat again,” Marsh said.

The four-year-old has made his way into the top grade after consecutive wins at Matamata and Te Rapa.

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