Marsh tops good day for Cambridge

Excitar (Danielle Johnson) clear of her rivals in her maiden win at Te Teko today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Excitar (Danielle Johnson) clear of her rivals in her maiden win at Te Teko today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Stephen Marsh’s goal achievement highlighted a successful day for Cambridge stables at today’s Te Teko meeting.

Marsh had set an original target of 40 wins for the season and when passing that figure he set a new mission of a half century of wins.

He achieved that 50-win goal when Excitar, ridden by Danielle Johnson, broke through maiden ranks in the J. Swap Contractors Ltd 2200 at Te Teko today.

“Now I’m looking at getting 55 wins and I think it’s achievable,” said Marsh, who prepares Excitar for Gerry Harvey under the NZ Thoroughbred Holdings Ltd banner.

“It was good to see this mare win today. It boosts her value as a winning mare.”

A four-year-old daughter of Excites, Excitar was having her 12th start and her best previous efforts had been five fourth placings, the most recent at Avondale last month over 2100 metres.

“She’s a horse who would get back and hit the line nicely for fourth and look a next-up winner, but things didn’t work out next time,” said Marsh. “She is hard fit and I told Danielle to make it as much a staying test as she could.”

Johnson went to the front on Excitar and kept her going strongly when The Talisman and In A Jam issued likely challenges in the run home. Excitar rallied well to kick on for a three-length win.

Excitar was the third of four Cambridge winners on the Te Teko programme, following on from the Lee Somervell-trained Sir Francis in the first event and Meeska Mooska in the fourth race. Cambridge’s other win came via Ana in the seventh race, the NZB Insurance Pearl Series 1600.

Matt Cameron returning to scale aboard Ana today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Matt Cameron returning to scale aboard Ana today. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Ana was the only starter at the meeting for the country’s leading trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, and her win took the stable’s tally for the season to 102, putting them 28 wins clear of their nearest rival, last season’s premiership winner Lisa Latta.

Ana has now won twice from seven starts for her owners, the Mission Downs Trust (managed by Geoff Brown). Her other win came at New Plymouth last January over the same distance as today.

Ana’s win increased the lead of Matt Cameron (who won earlier on the Graham Thomas-trained Meeska Mooska) on the Jockeys’ Premiership to 12 over Johnson, whose sole win on the day was aboard Excitar.

Cambridge jockey Michael McNab celebrated a win aboard Sir Francis, while promising Cambridge apprentice Viktoria Gatu picked up the winning ride on Nectacolecta for Matamata trainer Graham Richardson in the Gartshore Construction 1200.

Nectacolecta was at odds of 15/1 and had been disappointing since her debut win seven starts earlier at Te Teko 12 months ago when beating Thee Auld Floozie, who went on to be a stakeswinner.

Richardson was impressed by Gatu’s handling of the Keeper filly and said he wanted to keep the association going.