Impressive Amastar asserts Marsh's record season

By: Mark Nowell @MarkANowell

Trainer Stephen Marsh predicted a good winter season for Amastar after she recorded back-to-back victories; winning the $20,000 Topsoil and Sands Supplies (Rating 65) over 1200 metres at Te Rapa.

With just under just three months left in the season, the Cambridge horseman is enjoying his best season to date.

The win takes Marsh to 48 wins in the trainer's premiership, placing him fourth on the ladder and only  6 wins away from surpassing his record of 54 wins during the 2014/15 season.

Amastar's victory also pushed Marsh's stable earnings over $1.5 million in prize-money in New Zealand for the season.

Marsh has already eclipsed his previous best (7) stakes wins for a season, winning his 10th stakes race with his Australian bound Ardrossan earlier in the day. 

In her maiden victory, Amastar won on debut as a juvenile last year after two trial wins. The daughter of Showcasing was spelled and returned to the track finishing unplaced at Taupo trials to Splurge a fortnight ago.

With Mark du Plessis aboard, the pair led to the turn and kicked back strongly to hold off Miss Horotiu (M.Coleman) by half a length. Command Royale (D.Johnson) finished strongly from the rear for third, a further length back.

The winning time was 1:10.83 (last 600m in 35.06) on a Dead4 Track.

"She's a smart three-year-old filly that is now unbeaten from two starts, it was a good win against a nice field. She's only going to improve and she will be even better suited on more rain effected tracks,' trainer Stephen Marsh said.

"She's in for a good season," Marsh added.

Amastar second win from two starts has earnt her over $16,800 in prizemoney for her owners Mrs M Bennett, Mrs S Sutton, A Sutton, M Keown, P Motion, M Bennett & J McAllister. Mrs M C Bennett & Mrs S M Sutton from their mare Amirar, a winner of five races.

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One of this season's leading juveniles was among the first to try Te Rapa's new trial track at the jump-outs on Monday.

The son of Pins won his first two starts, finished fourth in the Karaka Million but hasn't raced since being hampered in the Group One Sistema Stakes in March.

Felton Road was among four runners from the Pike stable to kick-start the jump-outs, rated as a Dead4 track. The rising three-year-old dead-heated with Morweka, followed by Blue Lagoon and the un-raced Barbara's Choice.

Veteran galloper Casino, having his first public appearance for over a year, won the second heat. The eight-year-old beat three un-raced gallopers, all trained by Mark Forbes.

The third heat had four runners from the strong Marsh stable, was taken out by the promising Keeper-Heartache colt, bred by Bradbury Park.

Ben Foot trained two runners finished 1-2, a Highly Recommended youngster just beat an Excelebration, followed by two from the Chris McNab stable.

"We've had very positive feedback from senior riders Vinnie Colgan and Troy Harris. The track was a Dead4 which is brilliant considering the amount of rain the area as had," said CEO Ken Rutherford.

Trainer Chris Wood continued his rich vein of form this season when his promising galloper Wooden Edge made away with the $22,500 Foxbridge Plate Day 19th August (Rating 75) over 1600 on Saturday.

The Cambridge handler with less than a dozen horses in his stable, chalked up his 18th winner for the season from only 101 starters, with an outstanding 5.61 strike rate. Wooden Edge's victory brought up Wood's fifth winner at Te Rapa this season.

The unfashionable-bred Wooden Edge settled at the rear of the field was trapped wide for most of the race. Singapore rider Hairi Marzuki, followed High Class (A.Collett) into the home bend then peeled off to challenge his rival at the 200m mark to stride clear to win by just under two lengths to High Class. Waipipi Lad (S.Weatherley) was half a length back in third.

The win was Marzuki's sixth winner in his first season riding in this country from only 65 mounts. With recent winners from Baker/Forsman stable and his boss Stephen Marsh, shows his talent hasn't gone un-noticed during the winter.

Wooden Edge's winning time was 1:40.92 on a Slow9 track.

"It was a nice ride by Hairi (Marzuki). We got back a little further than we wanted, but there was plenty of pace and they came back to him. He was the only one travelling like a winner half mile from home. He had to do a little bit of work but once in the clear, came home nicely. It was a strong win," trainer Chris Wood said.

"I don't think he is an out in out mudder, but he does appreciate some cut of the track."

"He's putting together a good record. He's doing a good job," Wood said.

Wooden Edge has now won six from 12 starts and earned over $78,000 in prize money for his owners G Edge, Betalert Ltd, S Durrant, D Sexton, I Green, K Gregory, P Wicks, D Proverbs, M Hayes, D McHugh, P O'Sullivan, R Clark & R Woods.

Although Wood's stable star Pacorus wasn't able to win earlier in the day, the Tavistock gelding finding the mile too short, he looks a huge chance in the Taumarunui Cup at Rotorua in a fortnight.

"He'll go to the Taumarunui Cup and then the paddock for three or four weeks," Wood said.

"I might nominate him for the last day (Group One Livamol Classic) at Hawke's Bay, with the main aim the New Zealand Cup."

Trueman made it a memorable day for the Tims family, taking out the $20,000 Crossroads Waikato No.1/TAB (Rating 65) over 1400 at Te Rapa.

The four-year-old gelding was originally trained by his owner, Jack Tims but was transferred to Ken and Bev Kelso after a bout of ill health.

Jack's brother Gary, co-owned Alvins Dream, which won on debut earlier on the day.

Visiting central districts rider Johnathan Parkes made the most of an unexpected opportunity replacing Cameron Lammas, who himself was unable to take the ride through illness on the lightly raced four-year-old.

Parkes settled the son of Keeper handy to the pace on the outer and although he looked headed halfway down the straight, Parkes lifted the gelding over the final stages to record a head victory over Sea Home (V.Colgan) with a nose to Quantum (J.Riddell) running another placing in third.

Trueman's winning time was 1:28.00 on a Slow9 track.

"It was a good tough effort by the horse. Halfway down the straight I thought he was just battling but he fought back really well, under a strong ride by Johnathan," co-trainer Ken Kelso said.

"I'm just so pleased for Jack Tims. His health wasn't the best. He asked us to take him and it was sad to take him as Jack loves the horse. It's great that he delivered today," Kelso said.

"He's a nice progressive horse who I hope to take through the grades," he said.

"He's bred to get 2500 metres and I think he can cope with the better tracks, so he's an exciting prospect."

Trueman is out of the Nashwan mare Play Me. Play Me won one race in England and after finishing fourth in a Group Two over 2400 metres, Lady Tavistock sent the mare to New Zealand, where she had one run for a second, before joining her broodmare line at Bloomsbury Stud.

Henrietta Duchess of Bedford owns an un-raced half brother to Trueman, by Tavistock named Playwrite.

Jack Tims purchased Trueman at the 2014 Karaka Select Sale for $27,500 from Brighthill Farm's draft.

Trueman has won two and a second from six starts and has won $18,875 in prizemoney.

Te Rapa clerk of the course Terry Wenn escorted his part-owned and trained Jochen Rindt to the winners circle after the honest stayer led all the way in the $25,000 BGP Battlers (Rating 85) over 2100 metres.

Another well-rated front running ride from Trudy Thornton enabled Jochen Rindt ($15.50) to a slight surprise win over a solid field of Rated 85 gallopers. Bee Tee Junior (J.Riddell) finished second, one and three-quarters back, with Dubai Shuffle (R.Elliot) three-quarters of a lengths back in third.

Jochen Rindt winning time was 2:15.84 on a Slow9 track.

The rising eight-year-old went one better in the same race as last year, when beaten by a promising Pacorus, before going on to win the Taumarunui Cup, a race he is heading towards again.

The Ishiguru gelding has won seven and placed seven occasions from 33 starts and Saturday's $15,625 first prize pushes his stakes to over $109,000 for Wenn, D C Grayling and breeder Ms M M Walters.

He always had the ability, which is apparent by looking at his record, but Southern Icon had not tasted success since winning the same race last year, the $30,000 Group One Turf Bar 1200 at Te Rapa.

Not really fancied in the market, Southern Icon ($10) having his first start since April was sent out sixth favourite in the ten horse field, jumped well and was allowed to stride freely under Jockey Mark Hills.

As they turned for home, it appeared the fancied runners including favourite Lewis Carroll was battling to make up the deficit and it was all Southern Icon to win by a length and a half over runner-up Biggin Hill (A.Collett), with a length to former Hong Kong galloper Kitaya (D.Danis) in third.

"It's great to have him back," commented rider Mark Hills, who has been aboard seven of the horse's eight wins.

Southern Icon's winning time was 1:13.29 on a Slow9 track.

"He's not the easiest horse to work - he likes to do things his way. Lately when I'm still trying to pull him up when we get to the end of the back straight, I've been thinking he's going back to the races in pretty good order," Matamata trainer Alan Tait said.

"He got a virus last year and that was the end of his season," Tait said.

"He showed so much ability and we tried to patch him up, but it was no go."

"Now that he's back, the Group Two Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate here at Te Rapa on August 19th is on the agenda, followed two weeks later by the first leg of the Hawke's Bay triple crown, the Group One Tarzino Trophy," Tait said.

Tait, prepares Southern Icon for his wife Gaylene and long-time stable supporter Mike Collinson.

The Australian-bred son of Big Brown, Southern Icon has won 8 and placed on three occasions from 27 starts and earned over $133,000 in earnings.

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