By Ray Hickson
New Zealand trainer Stephen Marsh’s long-range plan to campaign a couple of promising mares off-carnival in NSW steps up a notch this week with Campari and Mark Two tackling city assignments.
The lightly raced but well performed pair scored maiden wins at Gosford earlier this month.
Campari heads to Warwick Farm on Wednesday for The Agency Real Estate Handicap (1400m) while Mark Two will tackle a 2000m benchmark race at Randwick on Saturday.
“They are well bred mares and have black type as three-year-olds so instead of kicking off in $10,000 maidens we’re having a throw at the stumps and if we’re successful at it we’ll start doing more of it,’’ Marsh said.
“They ran for $35,000 the other day at Gosford and that’s $15,000 off a Listed race for us so it made sense to have a crack.’’
Campari’s Gosford win, over an unsuitable 1100m, was her first start since running a close third in a 1400m Listed race at Ellerslie almost a year ago.
Marsh said the long break was due to minor issues resulting from the four-year-old being cast in her box one day and with the Sydney mission in mind she was given an extended break.
It certainly did her no harm as she easily accounted for subsequent winner Flamin’ Al under 59.5kg at Gosford on October 4.
“She’s definitely not an 1100m horse, we were relieved a bit of rain came to slow them up a bit,’’ Marsh said.
“The 1400m will suit her a lot more and she will go straight to a mile after this.
“The only thing you’d say is she went big first-up and sometimes they aren’t quite as effective second-up but we’ve given her long enough between runs.’’
Tim Clark will ride Campari, $3.40 favourite with TAB on Tuesday, and the plan is to head to a Saturday race if she runs to Marsh’s expectations second-up.
Campari's easy first-up win at Gosford on October 4
When you look at Mark Two’s form it’s no surprise she started $1.22 before coasting to a maiden win over 1600m at Gosford on the same day as her stablemate.
She was runner-up at Group 2 level back in February then ran fifth behind Savvy Coup in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) so she won’t be out of place when she turns up at Randwick.
“The 2000m looks right up her alley and she’s going to get further easy enough,’’ Marsh said.
“I thought she was very dominant at the end and a big track like Randwick will suit her but she wants the tracks to start tidying up a bit.’’