NZ Briefs For 03rd September 2019

Marsh pleased with quality pair; Bargain buy begins Melbourne Cup charge;

Marsh pleased with quality pair

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh stepped out stable stars Vernanme  and Crown Prosecutor  for the first time this season at Ruakaka on Saturday and he was pleased with what he saw.

Group One performer Vernanme finished runner-up to Mac Attacka in the Harcourts Just Rentals (1400m) and Marsh said he will take a lot of benefit from the run.

"I was really happy with Vernanme, 7 f was always going to be short of his best," Marsh said.

"He took a little while to win as a maiden, so as a rating 82 it was a good effort. He jumped and put himself right in it and travelled beautifully. He is going to be a lot better over a mile second up.

"That will be at Counties in the open mile and he will get in nicely in handicap conditions."

Meanwhile, last season's Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner Crown Prosecutor finished sixth in the Harcourts Whangarei (1200m) and will now head to the second day of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Racing Carnival at Hastings later this month.

"I was happy with him, he did his best work at the line. We were just using it as a trial over the 6 f. He will step straight into the mile of the Windsor Park Plate (Gr.1, 1600m).

"He will have blinkers back on and we are expecting a big improvement there. I think the Livamol (Gr.1, 1 1⁄4 m) will be his real go."

Originally earmarked for an Australian campaign, Marsh said that trip could still be on the cards, however the last two legs of the Hawke's Bay triple crown remain his primary goals at this stage.

"We were going to take Crown Prosecutor over early but have decided to run him here first. It is definitely at the back of our minds Australia and we will just take each race as it comes."

Bargain buy begins Melbourne Cup charge

Surprise Baby, a $NZ5,500 purchase off, will kick-off his Melbourne Cup campaign at Moonee Valley on Saturday when he contests the Gr.2 John F. Feehan Stakes (1600m).

The surprise package has now won four of his eight starts since being purchased off the online auction website, including victory in the Gr.2 Adelaide Cup (3200m).

The Paul Preusker-trained five-year-old hasn't raced since finishing a narrow second in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m), a race that would have automatically qualified him for the Melbourne Cup.

Preusker believes the gelding is primed for Saturday's first-up assignment.

"He's good to a nice sharp mile will be spot on for him and, while we don't want to give him too hard a run, it'll be a good chance for him to have a nice blowout," he said.

"His work has been good and I was very happy with his jump out at Stawell last week, so it's exciting to have him back at the races."

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