Karaka Million candidates had to take a back seat as homebred gelding Marky Mark scored an impressive victory in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes.
The Eclipse is often a good trial for the $1 million Karaka Million for Karaka sales graduates in late January, but non-sales graduate Marky Mark gave them all a start and outfinished them at Ellerslie on Thursday.
“It was a super field and so much pace. He was flat early but he’s a professional,” Waiuku trainer Moira Murdoch said.
“He’s just always been one of those real little characters and he just loves his work and just wants to be here, and he’s obviously got enough ability.”
Marky Mark, who is unbeaten in two starts, is owned by his breeders Brendon and Jo Lindsay of Karaka, on the southern outskirts of Auckland.
He became the first southern hemisphere stakes winner for his sire Makfi.
Murdoch said Marky Mark may have a short spell before being set for the Group One Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in autumn.
Second-placed Maritimo furthered his Karaka Million chances after battling strongly, with Showboy third.