Marsh team firing

El Duque taking the Stephen Marsh stable tally to three while he is enjoying an overseas holiday.

El Duque taking the Stephen Marsh stable tally to three while he is enjoying an overseas holiday.

Gritty Tauranga winner El Duque showed his liking for testing conditions at Tauranga yesterday as he added to the winning run of the Stephen Marsh stable while the boss enjoys a summer sojourn in Europe.

Marsh and partner Danielle Johnson are currently enjoying the sights and scenes of Paris on their month long travels, although Marsh was tuned to yesterday’s racemeeting as evidenced by the busy phone of stable foreman Rhys Mildon.

Mildon’s phone began to ring just seconds after the horses crossed the line in the Capital Tractors Tauranga 1400, even though it was close to midnight in the French capital.

“He listened to the race and when the commentator said there could be an inquiry he was straight on the phone with instructions,” laughed Mildon.

“As it turned out the siren didn’t go so there was no cause for concern.”

Mildon was confident his charge would have held the race had there been a protest although he conceded the nuggety gelding had drifted out slightly in the concluding stages of the contest.

“He has got a bad habit of loafing when he gets to the front and he did it again,” he said.

“He tends to gawk around a bit so hopefully he can get that out of his game as he gets more experience.

“He is a very tough customer who thrives on the winter tracks. He’s only had seven starts and won three of them so we think he can pick up some more while the tracks stay wet.

“The stable has had a good run of late with three wins in seven days which has added to a pretty good season already, although we are hoping to grab a few more while the boss is away.”

Marsh currently sits ninth on the Trainer’s Premiership ladder with 42 wins for the season, including seven stakes victories and a treasured first Group One triumph in Australia with Sofia Rosa in the Australian Oaks.

NZ Racing Desk