Stephen Marsh notched his 500th win as a trainer with Firefly at Matamata yesterday and has taken no time to start on the second half of his quest to 1,000.
At Trentham today Marsh and his jockey partner Danielle Johnson combined to win the El Cheapo Cars Premier with the speedy mare Akoya. In a meritorious performance, the Bullbars four-year-old had to overcome a wide draw to score by half a length from Rock My Soul and Barabas.
For Johnson, it was the 748th win of her 12-season career, while Marsh’s 501 wins date back 15 years to when he went into partnership with his father Bruce in 2002, followed two years later by the latter’s relocation to Singapore.
Marsh and Johnson, both well established in their respective professions from their Cambridge base, have what could be termed their own private competition on the score of strike rates. Following Akoya’s win Marsh is narrowly ahead with 501 wins from 4,332 starters for a strike rate of 8.66, compared to Johnson’s 748 wins coming from 6,656 mounts for a strike rate of 8.89.
The pair went within a whisker of adding another win with Felaar in today’s fifth race at Trentham, only to be denied by fellow northerner Makdanife. With 200 metres to run in the Hanley Formula 2100, Felaar and Makdanife had settled down to fight out the finish.
Felaar appeared to have the edge short of the line, only for Makdanife, trained by Nigel Tiley and ridden by Leith Innes, to reassert himself and grab the honours by a nose.