Birthday boy celebrates with a win

Masu (Danielle Johnson) finishing strongly to win at Ruakaka yesterday.

Masu (Danielle Johnson) finishing strongly to win at Ruakaka yesterday.

Stephen Marsh always likes to be considered younger than he is, but there’s a good chance he is showing his age and a bit more today after a long day topped by cause for a double celebration.

The Cambridge trainer, who is in his mid-30s but tells everyone he’s closer to 21 than 40, celebrated his birthday yesterday and he capped it off with a win by new stable recruit Masu in the Whangarei Love It Here Maiden 1400 at Ruakaka.

Ridden by Marsh’s partner, Danielle Johnson, Masu settled fifth on the inner, improved on the home turn and finished strongly to score by a neck from Ulysses, who is prepared at Cambridge by Mark Fraser- Campin and his brother, Chris Campin.

“That’s his first start for the stable and Ken Millar is a new stable owner so I’m happy to get off on the right note for him,” said Marsh.

“It (the win) was a bit of a surprise. I thought he’d need a bigger track. He probably surprised me when he jumped and put himself there.

“I know he’s going to be a better horse from 1600 to 2000 metres and that’s why I didn’t trial him, I just gave him a jumpout.

“I have been happy with his work but thought he might need a mile.”

Masu began his career in the Matamata stable of Lance Noble and was given five starts for two placings. When Noble took up the position as private trainer for Brendan and Jo Lindsay at Karaka, Masu was transferred to Marsh.

“He’s a horse who is going to really improve and will be a tidy horse when he gets to 2000 metres,” said Marsh.

Johnson was also impressed with Masu’s win.

“He sprinted really well and I think he’d been looking for better ground,” she said.

Masu has struck a good track just once and that day he finished third behind Zambezi Warrior at Matamata last January.

A four-year-old son of Red Giant, Masu is from the capable racemare Tina Temple, who won six of her 22 starts and competed seven times in Group races, including midfield placings in both the Gr. 1 NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha and the Gr. 2 Hawke’s Bay Cup.