Ward: Del Mar could favour Marsha more than Lady Aurelia
Sir Mark Prescott may have played down Marsha’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint chances on Wednesday, but Wesley Ward feels Del Mar could favour the Elite Racing Club-owned sprinter more than Lady Aurelia.
Ward believes Del Mar is a track that can play to the strengths of closing horses, with Marsha one of the main dangers to his stable star following her last-gasp success over the King’s Stand scorer in the Nunthorpe at York in August.
Lady Aurelia is a best-priced 11-8 shot with Betfair Sportsbook, BoyleSports and Paddy Power to win the Turf Sprint on November 4, while Marsha is available at 11-2.
Prescott said at a Breeders' Cup media conference in Newmarket that he thought Marsha might struggle to get to grip with the turns at Del Mar in California, but Ward told the Racing Post: "I think Marsha has some benefits, perhaps more so than us.
"Del Mar is a closing track. Horses often come from behind for whatever reason. I have been sending horses there from the east coast over the years and they have won from ten lengths behind – although those horses were not running against Lady Aurelia."
The nine previous renewals of the race have gone to trainers in the US or North America – a stat that does not bode particularly well for Marsha.
The Aidan O'Brien-trained Washington DC failed to justify favouritism when sixth last year, with Britain going closest in the first running in 2008, when Diabolical took the runner-up spot for Saeed Bin Suroor and the Jeremy Noseda-trained Fleeting Spirit was fourth.
Ward watched his superstar three-year-old filly work on Wednesday and could not be more thrilled with the condition of the daughter of Scat Daddy heading into a Marsha rematch he is keenly anticipating.
"Lady Aurelia is dead on right now," he said. "You couldn't have a horse better than she is right now, so I'm really excited for the rematch.
“Sir Mark is an unbelievable trainer and did a great job to prepare Marsha to beat us on the line at York; we had no excuses. I know he'll have his filly in great order."
Bet365 announced on Thursday they are now non-runner no bet on all Breeders' Cup races.
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