Marchesa breaks out at Ascot

ON THE UP: Marchesa (No 5, Brian Norman) edges ahead of Releven Dream (Bronson Munro) to win the CRT Fuel Rebate Trot at Ascot Park yesterday.
ON THE UP: Marchesa (No 5, Brian Norman) edges ahead of Releven Dream (Bronson Munro) to win the CRT Fuel Rebate Trot at Ascot Park yesterday.

Brian Norman didn't expect to end up owning Marchesa when the trotting mare joined his Tahakopa stable in October.

''I bought her for a syndicate, but they pulled out (of the deal) and I'd already paid for her,'' the horseman said.

Norman signed up as Marchesa's owner and has raced her six times for a win, a second, a third and a fourth.

''I wanted to win a race with her, now I want to sell her.''

Her maiden win was posted in yesterday's CRT Fuel Rebate Trot at Ascot Park. A pulling bit was used on Marchesa after she pulled hard and faded to eighth at Forbury Park on Friday night.

Marchesa's previous trainer, Billy Heads, of Waimumu, also tasted success yesterday when Whitney won in record time in the CRT Junior Drivers' Mobile Trot.

Whitney ran the 2200m in 2min 48.5sec, which was 1.4sec inside Jess Jaccka's mares' track record, set at the corresponding meeting 12 months ago.

Christchurch junior driver Bronson Munro said Whitney felt slightly flat in the back straight the last time.

''When we got to the quarter, she picked it up again,'' Munro, 20, said.

''Turning in, she was never going to get beat.''

Munro is based at Gore with a team from Jamie Gameson's Burnham stable for holiday racing in the south. The reinsman's father, Neil, also a Christchurch trainer, will be starting five horses on the southern circuit.

Six of Bronson Munro's seven career wins have been with Gameson's horses.

''It'll be good to get a win for Dad over the holidays,'' Bronson said.

Beaudiene Maja Babe used front running tactics to win the CRT/Equest Horse Wormer Pace.

She is trained at Ascot Park by Murray Brown, whose greatest moments in harness racing have been with the filly's Group I winning half-sister, Beaudiene Bad Babe (22 wins). Her wins included the Group I 4-year-old mares' race at the Harness Jewels in Cambridge and the Group II Premier Mares' Championship (twice) at Addington.

Andrew Armour drove Beaudiene Bad Babe in 12 of her 22 wins. Armour reined Beaudiene Maja Babe yesterday.

''She knocked off at the 100, but when the other horse (Frank The Duck) got up to her, she went again,'' Armour said of Beaudiene Maja Babe.

The Brown stable quinellaed the final event, the CRT Virbac Pace.

Lake View (Andrew Armour) looked the winner until Compton Street (Dexter Dunn) outfinished him by a nose. Compton Street is earmarked for the Gore Cup on December 27, while Lake View will have his next outing at Winton two days later.

Brown trained Lynfield Lad to win the Gore Cup in 1989.

Rowchester stretched his winning sequence to three in the CRT/Coopers Drench Pace. All the wins have been at Ascot Park for trainer-driver Brent Shirley. The horseman also scored behind Bertie Boy in the CRT/Helisouth Helicopter Services Pace yesterday.

Bertie Boy's only other start was at Ascot Park on December 7 when he galloped away and lost all chance. He had been impressing at workouts and trials.

The Southland Times