Having a horse with Australian spring potential might just be the best way for a New Zealand trainer to cope with a long and unforgiving winter.
At least that’s what Stephen Marsh is counting on as he prepares to run Serious Satire at Rosehill on Saturday.
When most New Zealanders are targeting horses at Queensland for the winter carnival, Marsh is taking a different tack with a three-year-old filly he thought was close to the best horse in his stable at the start of the season.
It’s all part of a plan to have Serious Satire boost her bank balance to clear the way for an Australian return during the Melbourne spring carnival.
“There are really no races left for her now and we’re getting into the worst of the tracks,” Marsh told AAP from New Zealand.
“So this is probably a last-ditch effort to get some prize money behind us and get over there in the spring.
“If we can win a race over there then we can start looking at some better things in Melbourne.”
Serious Satire goes into the Pat Hyland Handicap after a first-up New Zealand run in fast time that Marsh says is best ignored.
Taking on a Group Three field that included one of New Zealand’s highest-rated three-year-olds in Xtravagant, Serious Satire almost came to grief when trying to improve between horses late in the Breeders’ Stakes at Te Rapa.
“I thought she was a little bit lucky not to come down. It was a bit of a run to forget,” Marsh said.
Serious Satire had won two of her previous four starts, including a Group Three win over 1200m at Hastings and she is rated a $13 chance at Rosehill.
Her reward for overcoming a four-handed approach from trainer Chris Waller, which includes the early favourite Tsaritsa, will be a trip to the spelling paddock.
“If she runs a really good race but doesn’t quite win there’s another race in two weeks’ time. She may stay on for that,” Marsh said.
Brisbane has won out over Sydney for the Matthew Smith-trained Palazzo Pubblico and Frill Seeking.
“They are black-type mares so we’ll take our chance at Doomben,” Smith said.
The stablemates will arrive in Brisbane overnight to contest the Bright Shadow Handicap at Doomben instead of the Noel McGrowdie Handicap at Rosehill for which Frill Seeking has been sharing favouritism.