Marzemino kicks off Group One campaign

Marzemino winning at Te Aroha. Photo: Race Images

Peter Williams is harbouring Group One ambitions with talented Per Incanto mare Marzemino (NZ).

The Byerley Park trainer will produce Marzemino fresh-up in Saturday’s Roger Gill Agriculture 1200 at Pukekohe, the first step of a campaign that could lead to multiple Group One races this season.

“We’re very happy with her. She’s trialled up well in preparation for this,” said Williams, who trains in partnership with his wife Dawn.

“She had a couple of quiet trials, one at Avondale and one at Waikato, and she’s come through both well. She’s a lot stronger this year. She’s coming up really well.”

Marzemino has won five of her 10 starts, all five at 1200m, but Williams believes she can run out a strong 1600m later in the season.

“We feel the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha (over 1600m in April next year) is a Group One race that she’s capable of winning but we’ve got a long way to go to get there,” Williams said.

“She’ll probably run in sprints on the way through. We’ll look at the Railway (Gr.1, 1200m) and the Westbury (Gr.2, 1400m).

“The race on Saturday is a starting point but she’s forward; she’s ready. We’ll see how she goes but I’m keen on freshening her for the Counties Bowl before we look at the Railway.”

The Listed Counties Bowl (1100m) is run at Pukekohe on November 23.

The Williams stable will have two runners in Saturday’s open sprint with last-start Gr.3 Sweynesse Stakes (1215m) placed Midnight Runner (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) returning to a track he has won on three times in six appearances.

“He’s good and I’m happy with him too,” Williams said.

“He’s such an honest horse. He always tries hard and gives his best. He’s all right until the tracks get really hard, so we’ll keep going till the tracks firm up and then look at bringing him back in the autumn. He’s got a good race in him. He just needs to strike the right race with the right conditions.”

The stable will also unleash two promising three-year-old fillies at Pukekohe, with Per Incanto filly Perennial (NZ) and Pins filly Couturiere (NZ) both set to debut, though Williams said he would split the pair between the 1200m maiden and the three-year-old 1200m maiden.

“I like both fillies and they both worked well this morning too.

“Being maiden races, you don’t know what you’re up against with other first starters but we think both are capable of making a winning debut.”

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