Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh will get a better guide to his classic prospects following Saturday’s Matamata meeting.
Marsh will saddle maiden filly Rip Em Up in the Fairview Motors Matamata 1400, while blue-blooded colt Vernanme will take on older horses in the Stanley Group Maiden over 1600 metres.
Rip Em Up produced an eye-catching performance when closing well for second on debut at Avondale behind Group Three winner Bit Lippy, but will have to overcome a wide draw in barrier 12 on Saturday.
“She’s a well above average filly,” Marsh said. “She is really going places, but unfortunately she has drawn terribly.
“She will be going back, within reason, from the draw again which makes it very hard. She will go through the grades, but it is disappointing she has drawn wide again.”
Marsh was delighted with the debut performance of the daughter of Rip Van Winkle, but is looking forward to seeing her race on the left-handed Matamata track.
“I thought she was outstanding first-up,” he said. “She had done nothing right-handed and she is not quite as natural in that direction, hence the reason she veered off late.
“I am really looking forward to seeing her going left-handed on Saturday, where she can balance up a bit more. I do rate her.”
A winning or impressive performance would see Rip Em Up head towards the Gr. 2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes on October 22 as a precursor to the Gr. 1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 17.
Marsh already has a 1000 Guineas contender in the form of lightly-raced filly Loose Cannon. The daughter of Tavistock won at Ruakaka on debut and subsequently finished a luckless fourth in the Gr. 3 Hawke’s Bay Breeders’ Gold Trail Stakes.
“Loose Cannon was huge at Hawke’s Bay. She had eight days in the paddock after that and came back in and she looks fantastic for it.
“She will go the other way to the Soliloquy Stakes (Ellerslie, October 27) and then the 1000 Guineas, so they won’t clash until the Guineas.”
Vernanme, a full-brother to dual Group One winner Shamrocker, will sport the colours of Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, who races the son of O’Reilly in partnership with Margaret and Vern Trillo.
“He needs to put his hand up,” Marsh said. “He has got to take on the older horses and it is not an easy field, but if he can win then we will fly him down for the Zacinto Stakes over a mile at Riccarton on the 27th and then he will go into the 2000 Guineas, but he must win on Saturday to do that.”
Vernanme finished fourth at his only start, but found difficulty obtaining clear running until late in the piece.
“We do like him, he is a quality colt.”