IN Racing
Marsh set for big day out at Matamata
Stephen Marsh ventures to Matamata on Saturday with six strong runners, including a two-pronged attack in the Fairview Matamata Slipper.
NZ Racing Desk | February 25, 2022
Photo: Trish Dunell

The in-form Stephen Marsh stable ventures to Matamata on Saturday with six strong runners, including a two-pronged attack in the Gr.3 Fairview Matamata Slipper (1200m) headed by favourite Andalus ($2.70) and debutant Night Raider ($26).

A son of Almanzor, Andalus finished third to Wolverine in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) at his only start before a little break and he has trialled well in preparations for Saturday’s assignment.

“He’s a lovely colt. He is just so laid back and is a very nice athletic horse,” Marsh said.

“He’s drawn beautifully, and his trial was terrific at Te Rapa. It was only over 850m where he wasn’t asked to do a lot and he’s just improved so much out of it. He’s racing even better than he was before his Group Two assignment. I really rate his chances.

“It might not be a big field, but I think there’s a couple of nice ones in it, but I think he's pretty high-class.

“We’ll just ride him where he’s happy. He doesn't overdo it and I'd love to see him sit about third, that would be nice.”

Belardo gelding Night Raider has had four trials prior to his raceday debut and finished third in his most recent trial, and Marsh was keen to take advantage of the smaller field (8).

“We thought he'd win his last trial, he just sort of floated around a little bit and didn't really knuckle down,” Marsh said.

“We’ve got the blinkers on him and his last couple of gallops have actually been really good, he just lacks a little bit of concentration.

“He was actually meant to race at Wanganui on Thursday, but I really just couldn't think of what was going to be in this race.

“When it ended up with just six nominations originally and now a field of eight, I thought instead of going on an overnight trip, we’d go half an hour down the road for a Listed race.

“He'll jump put himself there from the good draw and who knows. His last couple of gallops have been big improvement on his last trial.”

The Cambridge trainer is in for a potentially rewarding day at Matamata, saddling the favourite in four races on the card including Seresin ($3.20) in the Westbury Waikato 1200, Miss Cartier ($3.20) in the Valachi Downs 1400, and Waimoku Falls ($2.50) in the Rich Hill @ Karaka 2022.

Stephen Marsh Fairview Matamata Slipper Andalus Night Raider Almanzor Wakefield Challenge Stakes Belardo Seresin Westbury Waikato 1200 Miss Cartier Valachi Downs 1400 Waimoku Falls Rich Hill @ Karaka 2022