Crown Prosecutor will spearhead a squad being sent north by Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh to be temporarily based at Ruakaka.
“I’ll be sending horses up there at the start of July to get through the winter,” Marsh said.
“At this stage I haven’t finalised them all, but Crown Prosecutor and Santa Catarina will be two of them. I’ll also send up some unraced horses to maybe get ready for the early two-year-old races.
“It’s the first time I’ve done something like this, but it’s worth trying.
“In Crown Prosecutor’s case, it’ll be to get him going and hopefully have him on trial for Melbourne. We’ve got no set races for him over there yet.”
Crown Prosecutor provided Marsh with Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) glory at Ellerslie in March and has been gelded since finishing ninth in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill later that month.
“He was a bit of a handful and the owners decided it was best to have him gelded,” Marsh said.
“He’s been back in a couple of weeks and looks good. He should be ready to step up more when he gets up to Ruakaka.”
Crown Prosecutor is part-owned by Lib Petagna’s JML Bloodstock, which also bred and owns Santa Catarina, a winner of four of her 11 starts.
Santa Catarina, a daughter of Savabeel, was a Listed winner as a two-year-old and proved most consistent this year with two wins and three placings from five starts. She ended her campaign with a third in the Gr.3 Cambridge Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at Te Rapa in late April.
“She’s a very promising type and if she comes up well she might be good enough to sneak into a Sistema Railway (Gr.1, 1200m),” Marsh said.
Marsh also has high hopes for Vernanme, who was third in both the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham and the Gr.2 Avondale Guineas (2000m) at Ellerslie. He joined Crown Prosecutor in Sydney after contesting the New Zealand Derby, in which he finished midfield, and was spelled after being unplaced in the Rosehill Guineas.
“He’s back in work and I really rate him,” Marsh said. “He could be a Cups horse.”
Marsh is experiencing his most successful season with 89 wins, placing him a clear third on the New Zealand Trainers’ Premiership behind Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman (109) and Jamie Richards (96).
“We’re a long way ahead of past seasons,” he said. “Our goal was to get to 75 wins and we’ve done that easily and had a Derby win under the belt, too.
“There’s still a rough chance of getting to 100, but we really need to notch a few winners over the next week or so. We’re going to have a really quiet July.”
Marsh’s stable has earned in excess of $2.5 million in prizemoney in New Zealand this season and six Group or Listed wins and this weekend he hopes to add to both tallies.
He plans to start Pretty To Sea, Ritani and Campari in the Listed Ultimate Ford and Mazda Tauranga Classic (1400m) at Tauranga with Sam Spratt, Michael Coleman and Michael McNab being the respective riders.
“They all like wet tracks so a bit of rain won’t bother them,” he said.
“Pretty To Sea missed the jump last start so we tried her in a barrier blanket in a jumpout last Friday and she flew the gates. She’ll race in it on Saturday and should be a good chance.
“Ritani won well at Ellerslie and is racing well and Campari was relegated (from first) last start and is going well, too.” - NZ Racing Desk