Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh may not be competing for the A$5 million on offer in the inaugural All Star Mile at Flemington tomorrow, but he is hoping stable runner Starrybeel can win a sizeable cheque for his connections on the undercard.
The Go Racing Rock Star Syndicate-owned gelding will compete in the A$150,000 Grand Final Classic (2000m) and Marsh is confident heading into the race despite an unplaced last-start performance at Matamata.
“The track was wet and it was a mile, he really does like a good track,” Marsh said. “He didn’t get all favours but I wasn’t worried about it. Back on a good track and over ground, he’s ready.
“He has travelled over really well. He travelled over on Wednesday afternoon. He went over a bit later because we weren’t 100 per cent sure of whether he was going to get into the race or not.
“We ended up 16th on order of entry out of 16, so we just scraped in.”
Starrybeel has drawn the outside gate in the field and Marsh said his charge will need a bit of luck in the running from that post.
“It’s going to be difficult because we have drawn shocking, so it’s not going to be an easy race that’s for sure,” Marsh said. “But we are confident, it just means we will have to go back from the draw, which we probably would have anyway being his first run over ground this time in.
“We will need a fair bit of luck to go our way, but we can’t fault him. He’s got over there great, he had a long walk on Thursday morning and he seems bright. Ethan Brown (jockey) gave him a light canter on Friday morning.”
Go Racing principal Albert Bosma and Marsh elected to campaign Campari and Mark Two in Sydney last spring because of the lucrative prize-money on offer and the partnership have chosen to follow a similar formula in Victoria with Starrybeel through the autumn.
“Looking at a race like this, it just looked like a lovely race to go for,” Marsh said. “We plan on giving him a decent campaign there and see where we end up. It’s all about making money.
“We had a really good talk about it. We have a lot of good owners that are buying nice horses and to keep them interested and to keep them in the game we have got to (campaign them in Australia).
“Unfortunately in New Zealand we don’t race for good money, it’s terrible, so we have got to give them the chance to make money. That is why we are going to do the right thing by everyone, find the right horse and target races and race for proper money.”
Marsh doesn’t have any set plans after the weekend with Starrybeel, but he is likely to have a few more runs in Victoria.
“We will get this race over and done with and then we will just see what he is eligible for,” he said. “He’s a four-year-old gelding, so we want to get as much money for the owners as we can.”