Guineas races the aim for Marechal

JAMIE SEARLE
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Alexstonysaprano
SOUTHPICS

BACK IN THE SADDLE:Darrin Skerrett rides Alexstonysaprano to a maiden win at the Winton trials on Saturday. Skerrett hopes to resume race-riding at Winton on December 10.

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A well-credentialled 3-year-old is in the south for guineas races early next year.

Marechal, a $90,000 buy at the Karaka yearling sales last year, is in training with Sean Bellew at Ascot Park. The General Nediym filly is owned in the North Island by former All Black Mark Carter, his brother John and other members of their family. She started in five premier races last season - $1million Karaka Million (12th, Ellerslie), Group II $100,000 Matamata Breeders' Stakes (eighth), Group III $70,000 Eclipse Stakes (fourth, Ellerslie), listed $50,000 Castletown Stakes (seventh, Waverley) and listed $50,000 Ryder Stakes (12th, Otaki).

Marechal joined Bellew's team in September after nine starts for Matamata horseman John Sargent. Her lone win came in a $15,000 2-year-old race at Otaki 12 months ago.

Soon after arriving in Invercargill Marechal contracted equine tonsillitis. She was treated with antibiotics and took several weeks to regain full health.

Darrin Skerrett will undergo a medical this week as part of his application for a jockey's licence.

Riding at trials has whet his appetite to compete again on raceday. His last race-ride was at Riverton four and a-half years ago.

After fulfilling his engagements that day, Skerrett told fellow jockeys he was finishing and his riding gear was for sale.

''I opened up my bag and said, 'It's all for sale','' Skerrett said.

''I sold everything before I left the course.''

Skerrett was fitting race-riding around a courier run and it got to a stage where he couldn't do both. He resumed riding at trials last season and rides trackwork for trainers Karen Horrell, Neville Patterson and Andrea Smith at Gore.

Hopes are high for Skerrett to ride at the Winton meeting on December 10.

Christchurch trainer Michael Pitman said yesterday he would not have runners at Cromwell on Sunday. He is shifting into a new home on Saturday and a week later, his son Matt and stable apprentice Brittany Moore marry in Geraldine.

Pitman will next month have a team based at Waikouaiti Racecourse for holiday racing.

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- The Southland Times

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