Marsh all smiles after quinella

Danielle Johnson getting the best out of fresh-upper Ruud Not Too (inner) to beat stablemate Rocanto at Ellerslie today.

Danielle Johnson getting the best out of fresh-upper Ruud Not Too (inner) to beat stablemate Rocanto at Ellerslie today.

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh was able to give two of his stable charges a big tick for richer assignments after they provided him with the quinella in the Withers & Co 1100 on the course today.

Marsh saddled up three runners – Barbaric, Ruud Not Too and Rocanto – in the Rating 85 event and it was the latter pair who fought out the finish with Ruud Not Too getting the nod by a long head. Barbaric finished four and three-quarter lengths away in seventh placing.

Ruud Not Too holds a nomination for the $80,000 Dunstan Feeds Rising Stars Championship (1500m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, while Rocanto, a fresh-up winner at Tauranga earlier this month, is being set for the Gr.1 $200,000 Sistema Railway (1200m) on the same track on New Year’s Day and the Gr.1 J.R. & N. Berkett Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham 20 days later.

Ruud Not Too has now won three races up to 1400 metres and her two seconds include the Gr.2 Cambridge Stud Eight Carat Classic (1600m), in which she finished second to Capella at Ellerslie last December.

“That 1500-metre race looks perfect for her,” said Marsh, referring to Ruud Not Too’s Boxing Day mission.

“I thought it was a good run from Rocanto as well. We’ll be looking at the major sprints with him and he will drop a lot of weight for them.”

“I think the weight was the difference in the end. They are both very good horses and they were great runs from both of them.”

Ruud Not Too carried 54kg, 5.5kg less than Rocanto, and though Marsh expected them both to perform well he wasn’t counting on a win today.

“At the weights and the way they were drawn, I had Ruud No Too on top of mine, but I still thought Go Nicholas would win,” he said.

“I’m very happy, but I was keeping an eye in the straight on Go Nicholas. He’s a horse I’ve got a lot of respect for.”

Go Nicholas, trained at Cambridge by Shelley Hale, finished fourth with another Cambridge galloper, the Tony Pike-trained Chachar separating him and the Marsh quinella.

Ruud Not Too, raced by the Go Racing Ruud Not Too Syndicate,  hadn’t started since finishing a creditable fifth behind Perfect Fit in the Gr.1 Fiber Fresh NZ Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha last April, but she showed her forwardness to resume when second to Irish Moon at the recent Cambridge trials.

Danielle Johnson bounced Ruud Not Too out well from her handy draw to lead in the early stages then vied for control with Rocanto before kicking ahead on straightening for the run home. Rocanto came back strongly at her but she held on determinedly.