Prescott in no mind to retire yet after 'marvellous year'
Marsha could not make Sir Mark Prescott's first runner at the Breeders' Cup a winner but she ran creditably in sixth, easily defeating Wesley Ward's Lady Aurelia who was a surprise flop in tenth, meaning their much-anticipated Nunthorpe rematch failed to materialise.
Prescott, however, may yet still have a chance to add a Breeders' Cup winner to a racing record that can be matched by few of his contemporaries. While he has been planning for his long-time assistant William Butler's orderly succession, the master of Heath House is not yet ready to hand over the reins.
"I'd like to keep going a bit longer," he said. "I've done 47 seasons and this will be the 48th lot of yearlings so inevitably the time will come. We've had a marvellous year this year – not just with Marsha but with winners and everything – so I'd like to keep going a bit longer, but you come to a stage where you run out of owners."
That may happen, although one suspects there are still plenty of owners who would appreciate having a horse in training with Prescott. Not least among them is Elite Racing Club, whose 10,000 members have been given the ride of a lifetime with Marsha this season.
"They ought to be very pleased, and they bred her – they didn't just buy her, they bred her, which is a phenomenal effort," Prescott said.
Marsha would have needed to produce a phenomenal effort to win the Turf Sprint, overcoming Del Mar's tight turf track and the effects of travelling halfway around the world as well as the local opposition. She managed the first two well enough, but was unable to reel in the front five, headed by 40-1 shot Stormy Liberal.
"Luke [Morris] thought turning for home he was in with a shout, then they picked up on the inner a little bit better than he hoped," Prescott said. "He was following Lady Aurelia who he hoped would carry him a bit further. They're marvellous those two fillies, there's never much between them.
"She'd have been better on a straight course, we all know that, and some of them might have been not as good. But I've got no complaints, I thought she was always in the right place, she travelled well, all the horrors you can have were avoided. She's done everything and we can't complain.
"You need to bring a good one. I thought she ran a great race, closing all the time, and a more conventional track would have helped her a bit. Her form with Lady Aurelia shows she's run right up to her best and I think she's been the more consistent sprinter in the northern hemisphere this year – she always runs her race and the others do what they do around her. She's been marvellous and a credit to everyone, especially Elite."
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