Graeme Hammarquist believes the 2021 edition of the Tabtouch Carnarvon Cup (2000m) is one of the strongest fields assembled for several years.
Hammarquist will saddle up Marxian, a $7 chance in current Tabtouch markets and on the second line of betting behind Staaden ($2.35).
One of three runners for trainer Rob Gulberti, Staaden earned top billing after winning the Port Hedland Cup (2200m) and Broome Cup (2200m) double.
Hammarquist is respectful of Staaden and says he’s well weighted and in form, but he’s not afraid to be going up against him on Saturday.
“He’s the favourite, but I reckon this is one of the strongest Carnarvon Cups I’ve seen for a long time and I can make a case for most of the runners,” Hammarquist told The Races WA.
“Normally there are the usual two or three standouts each year, but this field is an even bunch.
“I reckon you can make a case for at least 10 of the runners.
“I can’t worry only about Staaden, there are others in it.
“I’ll just concentrate on Marxian and I know he will be trying his best.”
Hammarquist says Marxian has enjoyed the ideal lead up to the Carnarvon Cup and there will be no excuses if he gets beaten.
Previously cared for in Perth by, Darren Mcauliffe, The Al Maher gelding is preparing for a peak performance at his fourth run in.
At his first go on the Carnarvon track he got off to a flying start when winning first up over the mile after a three-month break.
He followed up with a second to Jenabel and last start in the Peter Evans Memorial Handicap he ran third to Madrid Centro.
“This is the race he has been set for,” Hammarquist said.
“He’s is going into it well performed and with good runs under him.
“The trip won’t worry him as well.”
Marxian has four wins from 20 starts with three of those victories over 2000m and 2100m.
The five-year-old has drawn barrier seven in the Carnarvon Cup. He carries 56.5kg, 3kg less than last start.
Jockey Natasha Faithfull keeps her association with him.
“She was on the phone pretty smart looking for the ride,” Hammarquist said
“That’s a good sign, it tells me she is keen.
“She is a terrific rider, particularly in the country and the provincials.
“She’s one of the leading riders.”