Marsh excited with 2000 Guineas prospect

Stephen Marsh can't conceal his excitement over Ugo Foscolo.

Stephen Marsh can’t conceal his excitement over Ugo Foscolo.

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh is flush with excitement on the eve of Ugo Foscolo’s tilt at the Gr.1 Sothys 44th New Zealand 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.

“I’m really happy with him. He hasn’t missed a beat. I can’t fault him at all,” said Marsh.

Ugo Foscolo goes into the 1600-metre classic as a winner of four of his five starts, his one defeat coming when sixth in the Gr.2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings last month.

The Zacinto gelding bounced back from that defeat when he exacted revenge on Hawke’s Bay Guineas winner Mongolian Falcon when winning the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa on Labour Day.

Ugo Foscolo (Michael Coleman) holding out Mongolian Falcon to win the James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

Ugo Foscolo (Michael Coleman) holding out Mongolian Falcon to win the James and Annie Sarten Memorial at Te Rapa.

Tomorrow’s race will be Ugo Foscolo’s first attempt at 1600 and it’s that uncertainty that stops Marsh from declaring his horse in the feature.

“The only question mark you can put on Ugo Foscolo is whether he will run out a strong 1600 – and that’s my only concern,” he said.

“But he knows how to win. He knows where the finishing line is and that will hold him in pretty good stead.

“If that’s the only concern with him, I still wouldn’t swap him with any other horse in the race.”

Ugo Foscolo flew to Christchurch on Wednesday and has settled in well.

“He had a bit of a trot and canter this morning and he’s thriving,” said Marsh yesterday, adding that he felt for rival northern connections who had their travel plans disrupted when the scheduled flight to Christchurch yesterday had to be cancelled due to fog at the destination.

“Thank God we didn’t travel down today (Thursday). It’s not ideal for those horses and we do have some empathy for them too because that’s what happened to us last year with No More Tears in the 1000 Guineas.”

Marsh said Ugo Foscolo would spell after the 2000 Guineas ahead of autumn racing which could see him campaigned in Australia.

“He’ll definitely go to the paddock straight after this one,” said Marsh. “We’ll bring him back when he tells us he’s ready and then we’ll hopefully look at tackling some good races in the autumn.”

– NZ Racing Desk.