Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is looking forward to tackling some Classic targets with a pair of promising three-year-olds. Last start Listed 3YO Salver (2100m) winner Milford has returned to Marsh’s barn after a light freshen-up and is being set for a tilt at the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 6.
Marsh has been pleased with the way he has returned and is eyeing the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) as his lead-in race for the big dance. “He has been great and he is really going well,” Marsh said. “He just had a week in the paddock, and he arrived back in the stable on Tuesday and he is on track for the Derby. He will run in the Avondale Guineas.”
Zee Falls is also on course for a tilt at Classic spoils, with Marsh eyeing the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) with the Sacred Falls filly. She was victorious in the Group 3 Wellington Stakes (1600m) in her last start in November and will resume her three-year-old preparation at Karaka on Saturday in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m).
“We are certainly using this (Saturday) as a lead-up run,” Marsh said. “We want to target her at the Oaks. “She is going to improve with this run, it’s just a steppingstone, and come March she is going to be cherry ripe for the Oaks.”
On Saturday Marsh will also line-up Callissident in the DoubleTree By Hilton Karaka Million 2YO (1200m). She has placed fourth in her last two starts, including the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Trentham last month. “She is improving with every start,” he said.
“I really like the way she is going. The side winkers go on and after drawing an inside marble (1) I think she definitely warrants being in the race. “I think she will go better than what her price would suggest. It has ended up an even field and I think she will race really well.”
Marsh will also line-up Pretty To Sea in the Group 3 Brighthill Farm Concorde Handicap (1200m), Pierina in the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m), and So Gorgeous in the Group 3 Cambridge Stud Almanzor Trophy (1200m).
“Pierina has been going some great races and any rain will help,” Marsh said. “If the track ends up too good we might just go to the Thorndon (Group 1, 1600m), but she deserves a crack. “Pretty To Sea races very well at Ellerslie. It is a big field, but I am very happy with her.
“And with So Gorgeous we wanted to have a go at the Karaka Mile if we could. So we went 1400m – 1500m and she doesn’t quite get the trip, so we are bringing her back to 1200m. She can definitely turn her form around.”