PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sir Mark Prescott hit the nail on the head when asked, in the wake of Marsha’s excellent performance, what makes the filly so good. “She goes very quick,” he said simply.
That she does and with this victory in a strong-looking renewal of what is often an informative contest, Marsha confirmed herself among the very best around over the minimum distance.
Carrying a 7lb penalty as a result of her Group 1 success in last year’s Prix de l’Abbaye, the Elite Racing-owned four-year-old was always in command as she got the better of well-backed Washington DC, who came to Newmarket with the benefit of a run under his belt this season.
“I think it was good to win with a penalty because, unless I’m mad, Lochsong was the last to do it,” said Prescott. “She’s obviously run very well today and we’ve got to try to keep her doing the same.”
Marsha was immediately trimmed to as short as 4-1 by Ladbrokes for the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot next month and Prescott is leaning towards heading straight there, although Haydock’s Temple Stakes at the end of the month is also under consideration.
“We were going to go to Haydock but I think we’ll probably wait for Ascot now,” he said.
“She’s a filly though, so she’ll be remembered for her best performances, unlike colts who are remembered for their worst, and so we can be brave. Maybe we’ll go to Haydock, whereas if she was a colt I’d wait for Ascot.”
Prescott was full of praise for Marsha and revealed jockey Luke Morris, who has struck up a good rapport with the filly, has never been afforded the opportunity to ride her at home.
“She goes very quick,” said Prescott. “She’s very straightforward, very sound and very willing. She’s strong at home, so she works only on her own, and Luke hasn’t sat on her since the Abbaye. She can tank early in her races but Luke gets on with her very well.”
If she does line up in the King’s Stand, Marsha is likely to face Washington DC again, with trainer Aidan O’Brien looking towards that contest, but with another start beforehand.
“Washington DC ran a great race and we’ll look for another race before we think about the King’s Stand,” he said.
Almost as thrilled as the winning connections were those of the 2015 winner Goldream, who ran a fine race to be third.
The eight-year-old went winless in 2016 but jockey Martin Harley is clearly of the opinion the eight-year-old could be able to get his head back in front this term.
“That was like the old Goldream, and he loved the ground,” said Harley. “He felt like he was back to his best.”
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