It was mission accomplished for underrated galloper Monza Circuito when she led all the way to take out the Listed Speight’s Timaru Stakes (1400m) at Riccarton.
The seven-year-old Showcasing mare did her early racing for local trainer Mike McCann but shifted into the care of Stephen Marsh’s Riccarton base back in June last year, with the aim of achieving a victory at stakes level.
Placed three times in black type company earlier in her career, Monza Circuito achieved her mission courtesy of a well-judged front-running ride by Corey Campbell.
Campbell had the mare smartly away before dictating the pace to suit his charge, who looked to be travelling sweetly rounding the home bend.
Campbell nursed Monza Circuito along as she was challenged by race favourite Miss Tycoon Rose on her outer, before booting away again in the final 100m to score a comfortable one length victory.
Marsh, who was watching on at Trentham shortly before providing the quinella in the Gr.3 NZ Campus of Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) with Lincoln King and Starrybeel, was thrilled with the result.
“The people involved with this horse are new owners in my stable, so to get a win like this for them is just fantastic,” he said.
“We actually viewed the mare as a replacement for Belle Fascino, who did such a good job for us over the last two years before we retired her.
“Belle Fascino ran second in this race last year before going on to win the White Robe Lodge (Gr.3, 1600m) and this mare is on the same path, so if she could replicate what Belle Fascino did then I think everyone would be just rapt.”
Marsh believes a minor issue with her enzyme levels had been the reason that Monza Circuito had been struggling to finish off her races lately and a change in her trackwork routine has assisted with that.
“She has been tying up in her races, so we looked to make a few changes,” he said.
“We gave her just one gallop this week and she looked a different mare this time, as she really fought like a tiger in the straight.
“I thought it was a super ride by Corey as he cuddled her up and kept kidding to her and she was very strong at the finish.
“We’ll take her to Wingatui for the White Robe Lodge and then assess her after that as she has been up a wee while this time in.
“She does handle a little cut in the track but if she tells me she needs a break then we will put her aside and bring her back later on.”
Bred and part-owned by Kay and Marie Hood under their Hedwood Thoroughbreds Ltd, Monza Circuito has now won six of her 42 starts and over $191,000 in prizemoney.