Stephen Marsh believes he can still pull off a win in Saturday’s Gr. 2 Anuka Smoker Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham despite having to scratch race favourite Appellant.

The Showcasing filly opened a $3.20 favourite on the TAB’s Final Field market, but a spiked temperature meant Marsh was forced to consider an alternative target with the last-start Listed Wellesley Stakes placegetter. That means Marsh is banking on Snitzel colt Killin for the two-year-old feature.

“The colt should be competitive. He’s done everything right,” Marsh said. “The track is a worry but it’s windy down there and hopefully it will come back a bit for him. Had it been a Good3 for him, we’d have been really happy.”

Killin won a trial at Taupo in October on a good track but was unplaced in trials on rain-affected tracks at Te Teko and Taupo.

“He was down there in the worst of it in his last trial but Leith (Innes, jockey) looked after him and he was happy with his run. He’s really improved since then too,” Marsh said.

The Trentham track improved to a Slow9 this morning, with weather forecasts suggesting the worst of the weather had passed.

“He wasn’t one of the original entries for the race, but it’s basically a $100,000 Group Two maiden because there’s no winners in there and if he could sneak some of it, then it looks good on his CV. He deserves his place in the race,” Marsh said.

Appellant could now tackle the two-year-old race at Te Rapa on Waikato Cup day.

“It’s a shame she’s had to pull out, but we couldn’t risk her,” Marsh said.

Killin will be Marsh’s only runner at Trentham, with seven runners heading to Ellerslie on Saturday.

“I reckon Starrybeel is my best there. He looks progressive. He takes on his full-sister Firefly in the same race, so there’s a brother-sister rivalry.”