Another Brisbane Cup for Marsh family

Jim Byrne riding high on the shoulders of tipster Darren Winningham as they share in the Brisbane Cup celebrations with Chocante’s trainer, Stephen Marsh.

Jim Byrne riding high on the shoulders of tipster Darren Winningham as they share in the Brisbane Cup celebrations with Chocante’s trainer, Stephen Marsh.

Like father, like son. That could be said of Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh and his father, Bruce, and their success as trainers.

Bruce Marsh, a former Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, has established himself as a leading trainer and is now showing his skill in Singapore.

Among his many major wins is the 1986 Brisbane Cup with Marlon, ridden by David Walsh. And now 31 years later son Stephen has also celebrated success in the Brisbane Cup, thanks to a fine front-running display by Jim Byrne on Chocante at Doomben yesterday.

Stephen has prepared 466 winners on the home front and enjoyed Group One success on both sides of the Tasman.

Like his father, Stephen loves campaigning in Australia. He enjoyed a career highlight when preparing Sofia Rosa to take last year’s Gr.1 ATC Oaks at Randwick and to win a race such as the Brisbane Cup is special to him, even though it no longer holds Group One status.

Chocante, winner of the Counties Cup earlier in the season, had started his Queensland campaign off well when third behind Stampede in the Gr.3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben, but then disappointed when 10th in the Gr.3 Premier’s Cup at Eagle Farm.

After that Eagle Farm failure, Marsh was resigned to missing the Gr.2 Brisbane Cup but changed his mind when the meeting was transferred to Doomben.

“I don’t want to be one to go on about the (Eagle Farm) track, but we were going to up stumps and go to the Ipswich Cup if they didn’t change venues,” said Marsh. “We were rapt when they moved it to Doomben.

“We’ve been ultra-happy with him all the way through and I’m delighted he’s proved it today.”

A son of Shocking, Chocante completed a huge day for Byrne, one of the top Queensland jockeys who had earlier won the Gr.1 J.J. Atkins on Capital Gain.

Whereas Capital Gain stormed home to win, Byrne took Chocante straight to the front in the Brisbane Cup and the four-year-old sprinted clear of his rivals in the run home to win by three and a quarter lengths from Single Gaze.

Byrne was confident Chocante would bounce back yesterday, despite being beaten 10 lengths in the Premier’s Cup (2200m).

“I told them after he ran at Eagle Farm not to worry because he didn’t handle that track at all,” said Byrne.

“Funnily enough even though the track today was good, I was a bit worried that it might be a bit jarry for him, but he let down really quickly when I went for him.”

Chocante completed back-to-back Brisbane Cup wins for the Kiwis, following on from Benzini’s success last year, and now he is to enjoy a spell before being set for the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

“We’ll give him every chance to prove that he’s up to that level, and if he isn’t right up to the very best, there’s a few tiers down that you can still run in for good money,” said his thrilled trainer. “We’ll aim high and see where we get to.”


Byrne’s big day saw Darren Winningham, a tipster for the popular website, follow through on a challenge.

Earlier in the week Winningham issued Byrne the challenge that if he wins one of the features he gets lifted onto his shoulders in a post-race celebration. True to his word, that moment came after Chocante upset in the Brisbane Cup.