Marsh chasing two-year-old honours


Danielle Johnson and Stephen Marsh, who combined successfully with Nahema at Te Aroha yesterday. (Photo: Wally O'Hearn).

Danielle Johnson and Stephen Marsh, who combined successfully with Nahema at Te Aroha yesterday. (Photo: Wally O’Hearn).


Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is likely to be represented by two of the progeny of first-season sire Per Incanto in the feature juvenile races at Matamata next weekend.

That was the message after watching the debutante Nahema, ridden by Danielle Johnson, score a convincing win in the Super Liquor Te Aroha 1000 at Te Aroha yesterday.

“I’ll back her up next weekend in the Breeders Stakes at Matamata provided she does well over the next few days,” said Marsh. “She’s a pretty laid back filly so I think she’ll get there.

“I’ve always liked her. She’s just kept improving.”

The Gr. 2 $100,000 J. Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders Stakes is the country’s richest juvenile fillies event and one which Marsh would love to add to his CV.

Already on target for Matamata is Nahema’s stablemate Rocanto, who will contest the Listed $50,000 Reid & Harrison Slipper. Rocanto has won twice from three starts and both have been at Te Rapa, the same left-handed way of going as Matamata.

Rocanto has proved a fine advertisement for Little Avondale Stud sire Per Incanto and Nahema should also fly the flag well for the exciting young sire.

Marsh gave Nahema two trials going into yesterday’s event and she came close to winning both. She was beaten a head in her first trial at Cambridge last month then won by two lengths at the Avondale trials 11 days ago.

Yesterday she jumped with the field then drifted to settle second-last and Johnson improved her outside a few horses approaching the home turn.

Taken widest around the turn, she gradually worked into a threatening position halfway down the straight then finished her effort off nicely inside the final 100 metres to win by three-quarters of a length.

“She’s a little professional,” said Johnson. “She won it nicely.”

Nahema is raced by Lib Petagna’s Homebush Partnership No.5 Syndicate. Bruce Perry manages Petagna’s racing interests which include the top-class mare Lucia Valentina, who is set to resume in Sydney today.

Nahema is a half-sister to Hammer Down, who was raced from Stephen McKee’s stable by the Homebush Partnership No.2 Syndicate and recorded three New Zealand wins before further success in Australia. His local wins included the 2011 Gr. 3 Windsor Park Stud Breeders Stakes at the Cambridge Jockey Club’s meeting.