Marasco superb in Strickland Stakes

Marasco was simply superb winning the G3 Strickland Stakes for the second year in a row at Ascot on Saturday.  He has now won 16 times in 37 starts and has earned over $1.72 million for Judith Kersley and Oakland Park breeders Neville and Sue Duncan.  

“They played into his hands,” trainer Fred Kersley said at Ascot.  “I don’t think he will race during the winter,” he added.  “I will talk to Neville but at this stage he can go for a break.”

Marasco (7g Scenic – Bluegrass Belle by Is It True) won the Hyperion Stakes and the Strickland during a short autumn preparation.  He had not raced since a short stint in Brisbane when he was unplaced in the Stradbroke Hcp and Doomben 10,000.

He required a knee operation after the winter carnival and was ruled out of Perth’s Summer Festival of Racing.  “The heavy weights and soft tracks in Brisbane could have caused the damage,” Kersley explained.  “Surgery wasn’t the best thing that could happen to a seven year-old.”

Marasco has a legion of fans in Perth and, to a man, they believe he’s been unfairly maligned along the eastern seaboard.

When he first ventured across the Nullarbor in February 2007, Marasco was runner-up to El Segundo in the G1 Orr Stakes and followed up with unlucky seconds to Pompeii Ruler in the G2 St George Stakes and G1 Australian Cup.

He returned east the following spring and scored a career-high victory over Apache Cat in the G2 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.

The Melbourne media compared Marasco to Kersley’s all time great Northerly although they had little in common apart from sporting the same silks.  He was installed one of the early favourites for the 2007 W S Cox Plate and, when he failed, they cut him down like a tall poppy.  

Matching them up cuts no ice with Kersley.  He’s just thankful to have Marasco back after a career threatening injury.

“He has very fast point to point speed,” Kersley said after the Strickland Stakes.  “There are not many better then him in the country at weight for age.”