All roads lead to Riccarton for a trio of Stephen Marsh-trained three-year-olds who will have opportunities to advance their Classic credentials with imminent engagements in the Central Districts.
Burn To Shine, Codigo and Glamour Tycoon will be in action at Hastings on Saturday with the first two on a path to the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and the latter heading toward the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
“All three are in good order and will hopefully be on their way to Christchurch,” Marsh said.
Burn To Shine and Codigo will give the stable a strong hand in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) and Glamour Tycoon is also in top order for the Gr.3 HBPB Thoroughbred Breeders’ Assn Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).
A son of So You Think raced by breeder The Oaks Stud, Burn To Shine was a winner and placed in last season’s Gr.3 Matamata Slipper (1200m) and opened this campaign with a dominant win against older horses at Te Rapa.
“He was really good and he’s a lovely horse who is doing everything right,” Marsh said.
“He’s benefitted with that run under his belt and Warren Kennedy takes the reins. He will be better when he gets to 1400m and a mile, but he is going super.”
Codigo won both of his domestic starts last term, including the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1100m) before he crossed the Tasman.
The Waikato Stud-bred and raced son of resident stallion Ardrossan finished third in a hot form race at Flemington behind the unbeaten Steparty and subsequent stakes winner Dolphin Skin.
“He’s come really well and has had one trial so he will take improvement from this run,” Marsh said.
“Michael McNab will ride him again and his work leading in has been terrific.”
Glamour Tycoon finished runner-up in both of her two-year-old outings, including the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre Stakes (1200m), and was also runner-up behind Lupo Solitario when resuming at Te Rapa last month.
“I think it might be a pretty smart horse that beat us and that run has really brought her on a lot and her work has been very good,” Marsh said.
“She looks great and while there are obviously some very good horses in the race, I’m happy with her and she’s only run in good races herself so she certainly deserves a crack.”
Another quality three-year-old in Marsh’s care is Mazzolino, who makes her three-year-old return in the Vet Services Equine Hawke’s Bay Premier (1200m).
“She has come back well and her second trial was on a wet track, which she didn’t like, and is slowly coming through in the coat,” Marsh said.
“She is going to improve and has just taken a little longer to come up than we thought.
“She is a lovely mare and showed very good ability as a three-year-old in some very good form races.”
Mazzolino won the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) and placed in the Gold Trail as well as the Listed Mufhasa Stakes (1400m) and the daughter of Savabeel was also an unlucky fourth in the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m).
Among Marsh’s better chances at Ruakaka on Saturday is El Vencedor in the Aotea Electric In Waipawa (1400m).
The son of Shocking drops back in grade after a disappointing unplaced run in his seasonal return in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
“His first-up run was a bit of a mystery, he can throw the odd one in like that, but he has trained on well and the 1400m will suit him and I can’t fault him at all,” Marsh said.