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Marsha has big fan club for King’s Stand Stakes

18 Jun 2017

Syndicate-owned filly set for clash with Lady Aurelia in Royal Ascot speed test


Frankie Dettori celebrates winning on Lady Aurelia at Royal Ascot last year.

There are unlikely to be many more popular winners than Marsha if she lands the King’s Stand Stakes (3.40pm) at Royal Ascot on Tuesday – the first race in the Sprint category of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The Sir Mark Prescott-trained four-year-old filly is owned by the Elite Racing Club, which was founded in 1992 and now has more than 10,000 members.

Marsha has to be the quickest thoroughbred to have carried their colours. Ridden by Luke Morris, she signed off last season by winning the Group 1 Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye and began this term by defying a penalty in a hot renewal of the Group 3 Longholes Palace House Stakes at Newmarket. She had Washington DC, Goldream, Priceless, Ornate, Alpha Delphini, Cotai Glory, Gracious John, Muthmir and Just Glamorous behind at Headquarters and now meets those rivals on better terms from a draw of stall 9.

“Winning the Palace House with a penalty is not done often and on that run she’s better than last year, but now she’s got to keep it going,” Prescott said. “She’s very willing, very sound and very straightforward, except she will tank. The girl who looks after her, Sarah [Oliveira], rides her in all her work. Luke [Morris] gets on with her very well, but is not allowed to see her at home.”

Marsha is disputing favouritism with another filly, Lady Aurelia, who is among a team of ten at the meeting for trainer Wesley Ward, who is based in America. Lady Aurelia, drawn nearest the stands’ rail in stall 18 on Tuesday, was a runaway winner of the Queen Mary Stakes last year and went on to win in Group 1 company over six furlongs in France.

Prescott joked: “In the days when we had Pivotal [winner of the King’s Stand and Nunthorpe in 1996] at least we didn’t have any horrid people coming from abroad!”

The last two winners of the King’s Stand – Goldream and Profitable – also feature among a final field of 18. Signs Of Blessing travels over from France, while other notable contenders include Priceless, winner of the Group 2 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock, and Muthmir, impressive when landing the Group 2 Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly on his latest start.

Medicean Man, an 11-year-old, will be running in the race for a sixth and final time, having finished 40426 in previous attempts. Jeremy Gask, his trainer, describes him as “part of the family” and says he will be retired. Take Cover, who is 10, finished third in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes last year and will also be attempting to show that age is no barrier to success.

Ardhoomey, Final Venture and Willytheconqueror complete the field.