More West Australians keen to secure Scriven
Perth trainer Fred Kersley is a firm believer in home ground advantage and has booked Shane Scriven to ride Marasco in the Doomben 10,000.
Scriven goes into the race next weekend on a high having claimed Saturday’s Group One Doomben Cup on another West Australian horse, Scenic Shot.
Marasco arrived in Queensland last Wednesday following his unplaced run in the Group One All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Anzac Day.
He has so far only been given light work including a 1200-metre gallop at Eagle Farm on Saturday morning.
Scriven rode Marasco in the gallop and expects him to have his first serious hit-out at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.
"I’m happy with him and but he’s only done slow work so far as he’s taken a bit of time to get over the float trip from Sydney," Kersley said.
"I had a few options with riders but I’ve decided to go for local knowledge.
"I don’t know too much about the riders in the east but I do know Shane is one of the best."
Kersley plans to stay in Queensland with Marasco to tackle the Group One Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6 if he performs well in the Doomben 10,000 (1350m).
Marasco, a one-time favourite for the Cox Plate in 2007, will be Kersley’s first galloper to run in Queensland.
"I’ve never had a racehorse here but in my old trotting days I brought a horse over called Red Vicar who ran at Albion Park paceway," he said.
Kersley admitted he was disappointed with Marasco’s 3-1/2 lengths ninth in the All Aged Stakes won by Danleigh.
"I didn’t think he finished the race off but there were some excuses with his wide draw and the wet track," he said.
"Probably my expectations were too high as it was his first time right handed."
Kersley has not ruled out another shot at the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October if the six-year-old can strike his best form in Brisbane.
"I’m not sure he’s really a 2000-metre horse even though he was placed in the Australian Cup two years ago," he said.
"I’ll wait and see how he goes here first before looking at the spring."
Marasco was touted a future star and was a raging favourite for the 2007 Cox Plate after he won the Group Two Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in September that year.
But he suddenly lost form after finishing third in the Group One Underwood Stakes at Caulfield and Kersley said it still remained a mystery to him.
Marasco returned to Melbourne for the spring last year but did not race after hurting his knee while being unloaded at Melbourne airport.
Barrosa Boy is the only Perth sprinter to win a Group One sprint in Queensland when he downed Rough Habit in the Doomben 10,000, then known as the The Castlemaine, in 1992.
He finished second to the Kiwi champion in the Stradbroke Handicap at his next start.
By Glenn Davis