Gritty two-year-old Bronte Beach is likely to head up a three-pronged attack on the Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1100m) for trainer Stephen Marsh at Te Rapa next weekend after her impressive victory at Hastings on Saturday.
The Reliable Man filly produced the run of the day at Hastings when she charged away to a three and a half-length victory despite nearly falling when severely checked entering the home straight.
“What a phenomenal run that was,” Marsh said.
“You don’t often see a horse pick themselves up like that after copping such a buffeting and she then had the cheek to just burst away from them in the last 100m.
“Most horses would have turned it up after something like that, but she was quite remarkable really.”
Marsh had been keen to see how the filly would measure up on a better surface after she had floundered on a Slow7 track at Rotorua when making her raceday debut earlier in the month.
“She had won a trial nicely before she went to Rotorua, but she just didn’t cope with how wet it was there,” he said.
“Craig Grylls rode her that day and he came back in and said she went well despite finishing fifth as she just didn’t cop the track one inch.
“We were keen to get her on to something better so the opportunity at Hastings was a good one and she showed that she could be quite a talent.”
Marsh will now turn his sights to next Saturday’s Listed juvenile feature at Te Rapa, a race he has taken out for the past four years. Successful with No More Tears in 2015, Marsh then produced Ugo Foscolo in 2016, Ardrossan in 2017 and Santa Catarina last year to win the event.
“We’ve established a pretty good record in the race with what have turned out to be some quality individuals,” he said.
“This year we were scratching our heads a bit as we perhaps didn’t quite have that same type of firepower, but the way Bronte Beach won, we might just have found one at just the right time.
“We are planning to have three in the race as I also have Acting Up and Scorpz also set to run.
“Acting Up has had one start for a promising fourth behind a smart one while Scorpz is a lovely Charm Spirit colt who has had a couple of trials and done well in them.
“He is going to make a lovely three-year-old, but we think he can go a cheeky race.”
Saturday’s victory sees Marsh sitting in third place on the national trainers’ premiership with his 80 wins a stable record and a mark he didn’t believe was possible at the start of the season.
“If you told me we would have 80 wins, I would have said you were joking,” he said.
“We have had a phenomenal season and hopefully we can finish it off strongly over the next couple of months.
“We might even be able to nudge the 100-win mark which would be truly special and something that all the staff can be justifiably proud of.” – NZ Racing Desk