Marsh’s rising staying star

Chocante and Danielle Johnson recording a fine fresh-up sprint win at Matamata today.

Chocante and Danielle Johnson recording a fine fresh-up sprint win at Matamata today.

Get ready to hear a lot more of Chocante, a son of the Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.

That’s the opinion of trainer Stephen Marsh after watching the four-year-old resume on a successful note in the Duncan and Ebbett 1400 at Matamata today.

“He’s a potential cups horse with a bit more time on him,” said the Cambridge trainer. “He’s a real handicap style of horse. He’s got a very bright future.”

Though placed three times at 1600 metres or less last season, Chocante took until reaching the 1950 metres of a maiden event at Rotorua last April before he cleared maiden ranks, not surprising considering his sire Shocking’s staying prowess.

Marsh gave Chocante one further run last campaign, stepping him up against some of the best three-year-olds in the Gr. 2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie last April and the result was a useful eighth after copping interference with a round to go.

Chocante was facing 1400 metres fresh-up today and, though he was backed into favouritism, Marsh was wary of his chances in the sprint.

“He’s still big in condition and I haven’t trialled him,” said Marsh. “He’s got a big campaign ahead of him and he’ll improve a lot with the run.”

Chocante was trapped wide in the early rush but rider Danielle Johnson soon worked him into second position behind clear leader Classic Warrior and had him poised to challenge on the home turn.

Chocante ranged up with 200 metres to run and kicked away to score by a length and a quarter from Keepherinmind.

“He was not ridden exactly how we’d want to ride him in the future,” said Marsh. “He’s probably better off coming at them, but that the racing pattern today so ride to the pattern.”

Johnson was having her second raceday ride on Chocante, having finished second on him at Te Aroha last March, and she was impressed by the performance.

“Stephen liked this horse from day one,” she said. “He’s going to progress into a nice stayer.

“Today he won well. Obviously stayers can go well fresh-up. There’s going to be a lot more in store for him.”