Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh has confirmed a hit and run mission to Melbourne for Hawke’s Bay Cup winner, Felaar.
The progressive Ekraar five-year-old has thrived since his Hastings victory with Marsh set to test him in Melbourne with a view to possible future assignments across the Tasman in his next campaign.
“He hasn’t put a foot wrong since his win and has thrived.” Marsh said.
“He will head over to Melbourne next for a handicap event over 2600m at Flemington on May 4.
“If he goes well there, then he will contest the Andrew Ramsden (Listed 2800m) three weeks later.”
Restricted to three, four and five-year-olds, the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) is shaping up as an important race for Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) aspirants as it now carries an automatic ballot exemption into the famous Flemington two-miler on the first Tuesday in November.
Marsh is keen to take the opportunity to assess Felaar against Australian opposition as he looks towards next season.
“I’m just not sure what he will come up against in Melbourne at this time of the year, but it does represent an excellent chance to gauge where he is at in relation to them,” he said.
“We know that he has the makings of being a top stayer once he puts it all together so once we see how he goes, we can start to put a programme together for him for next season.”
On the local scene Marsh produced a winning treble at Ellerslie on Saturday where Santa Catarina and Savapak took out the first two races before Tightlign was successful later in the day.
“It was a top day and I thought Santa Catarina was very good when winning race one,” he said.
“She showed plenty of ticker to kick away when challenged in the run home and she recorded some slick sectionals in doing it.
“As long as she comes through the run well, she will back up in the Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.3 1200m) at Te Rapa next Saturday.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Marsh however with race favourite Glinda Goodwitch disappointing when only beating one home in the Listed Buffalo & Co Champagne Stakes (1600m).
“She didn’t get a lot of luck in the run, but we thought she would finish off a little better than she did,” he said.
“She can go to the spelling paddock now and I’m looking forward to seeing her come back as a three-year-old.” – NZ Racing Desk