Chief Sequoyah makes stand

Chief Sequoyah (Ryan Elliot) looks an exciting staying prospect on the horizon judging by his Ellerslie win.

Sweet Nineteen ended Thursday’s Ellerslie twilight meeting on a high note for Australian jockey Tommy Berry, but it was Stephen Marsh’s other win on the evening that brought an even bigger smile to the face of the Cambridge trainer.

Marsh book-ended the Barfoot & Thompson Jockeys’ World Cup meeting with Chief Sequoyah winning the first event, the Edwards Sound 2200, in the hands of the star jockey of the evening, apprentice Ryan Elliot, while Berry was thrilled to win the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Qualifier (1400m), the final event on the six-race programme, aboard Sweet Nineteen.

The writing was on the wall for a breakthrough win by Chief Sequoyah, who capped three placings with his first victory in his fifth start.

Two of those placings came in Chief Sequoyah’s latest two runs leading into Thursday’s contest. He ran on over 1600m for third at Te Aroha then when stepping up to 2000m at Avondale he again closed well and was beaten a neck and a head.

Marsh was confident Chief Sequoyah could break through at Ellerslie.

“I thought his last run was outstanding,” Marsh said pre-race. “He was caught wide from a wide draw, worked very hard and was solid to the line.”

Elliot put Chief Sequoyah right in the race from the outset on Thursday, giving him a lovely trail in third or fourth placing, but the four-year-old son of Redwood did cause some concern when changing legs a few times. He did so dramatically across the top and raced with his head in the air for a few strides before Elliot got him back into rhythm.

“He was on the wrong leg, but he was all right when he came into the straight,” Elliot said.

Chief Sequoyah was right in contention turning for home then switched off the heels of the leader to challenge 200m out and he drew clear over the final 100m to win by two lengths.

“I was a bit worried when he came into the bend and got his head up and looked to get on the wrong leg,” Marsh said.

“He’s still a bit big and dopey, but he got his act together and got his head down and won the race comfortably in the end.

“He takes a while to wind up. The further he went, the further he got in front.

“He’s a pretty exciting stayer, even next spring he’ll be better.”

Marsh doesn’t plan to push Chief Sequoyah this campaign.

“He won’t take many runs,” he said. “He’s a big, lean machine and will probably be better in the autumn.”

Sweet Nineteen and Tommy Berry end the Ellerslie meeting on a high note for trainer Stephen Marsh.

Chief Sequoyah was bred by Lorraine and Bill Sullivan and sold at the 2016 Select Yearling Sale at Karaka for $16,000 to Sam Beatson’s Riversley Park, Ohaupo.

Beatson is part of the syndicate which races Chief Sequoyah and also included in the group is trainer Ben Foote and his father, Cedric.

The delight experienced by the Chief Sequoyah crew was rivalled later in the evening when Berry was successful on stablemate Sweet Nineteen.

“It’s no point in coming over here if you’re not going to enjoy it,” Berry said. “It’s great to get a winner on the night.”

Despite all his major success on the international stage, Berry showed his delight when doing a fist pump after passing the winning post on Sweet Nineteen.

Sweet Nineteen, a four-year-old daughter of Keeper, took her record to two wins and four placings from seven starts and she did it in good fashion.

Settled in the trail, she was travelling well across the top and when Berry opted for an inside run in the home straight that proved a winning move.

Sweet Nineteen dived through to grab the lead with 300m to run and went on to win by a length and a half from Marissa, while the winner’s stablemate Paint The Town was a creditable third.

Sweet Nineteen’s previous win was over the same distance at Te Teko last June, but on a heavy10 track opposed to a dead4 surface on Thursday.

She had hinted another win was near when a strong-finishing fourth to Money Trail fresh-up at Te Rapa a few weeks ago.