Mongolian Marshal’s performance in the Gr.3 Pencarrow Stud City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) on Tuesday will determine how far his stamina will be tested this campaign.
The four-year-old son of High Chaparral mastered the distance of his latest Ellerslie assignment when decisively winning the Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa last start and he does hold nominations for both the Gr.3 NZ Campus For Innovation & Sport Wellington Cup (3200m) at Trentham on January 19 and the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 9.
But co-trainer Murray Baker has already ruled out one of the 3200m tests.
“He won’t be going for the Wellington Cup,” Baker said. “If we do try him at 3200m it will be in the Auckland Cup, but we’ll assess everything after this run.
“He might end up a weight-for-age horse.”
Mongolian Marshal is also entered for the Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m), one of the two weight-for-age features at Te Rapa on February 9.
“We could end up with quite a few in the Herbie Dyke, but it’ll be hard to beat the Ruakaka mare Danzdanzdance),” Baker said. “She looks pretty smart the way she won the other day.”
Danzdanzdance followed up her Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes (1600m) victory with an impressive win over Mongolian Marshal’s stablemates Lizzie L’Amour and the subsequently retired Jon Snow in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2000m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.
Whether or not Mongolian Marshal gets to join Lizzie L’Amour and other stablemates in the Herbie Dyke Stakes, the talented galloper has already established a fine record of five wins and six placings from 13 starts.
He has been a model of consistency this campaign, notching three wins with a couple of seconds sandwiched between each of his wins.
He won his open-class debut at Ellerslie over 1600m on November 6 and was runner-up to Igraine in the Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) at Pukekohe before turning the tables on the Te Awamutu-trained mare in the Waikato Cup.
“He won the Waikato Cup nicely and I hope he can do it again,” Baker said. “He’s done well since then and he goes well at Ellerslie.”
Mongolian Marshal has won two of his three Ellerslie starts and will again be ridden by Matt Cameron, who has been his regular rider this season.
Baker and training partner Andrew Forsman have won 13 black type races this season and many punters believe they can add two more wins to the list on Tuesday.
Mongolian Marshal is the $2.30 favourite on Fixed Odds for the City Of Auckland Cup and stablemate Love Affair is the $4.50 favourite for the Gr.2 Rich Hill Mile (1600m).
Love Affair has a similar record to Mongolian Marshal, also being a Group Three winner and Group Two and Group Three-placed from 13 starts.
She has recorded six wins and three placings with the latest win being in the Gr.3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie before her last-start fourth to Belle Du Nord in the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa.
“She just got a bit of a squeeze from Nicoletta in the straight and it got a bit tight for her at Te Rapa,” Baker said.
“She’s got to be a good chance and hopefully Opie (Bosson) can do the trick this time.
“If she does well she’ll go down to Trentham for the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m). She’s a good mare.”
Baker and Forsman will also be represented in the Gr.2 Valachi Downs Royal Stakes (2000m) by the maiden Clementina, a Savabeel filly who has run home strongly in her two starts, both over shorter trips.
“She’s a promising filly and it’s a big step up for her, but it’s a chance at black-type and she’ll like the distance,” Baker said. - NZ Racing Desk