Marsabit ‘going amazing’ ahead of Wagga Gold Cup

The much-loved Marsabit will contest Friday’s $200,000 Wagga Wagga Gold Cup for Goulburn trainer Danny Williams. Photo: Bradley Photos.

The Danny Williams-trained Marsabit is as consistent as you’d want in any galloper, but he has been a challenging horse to train. 

A 28-start veteran boasting six wins, six minor placings, and close to $300,000 in Australian prizemoney has proven to be a handy middle-distance horse. 

Irish bred, the Mehman gelding out of Masela made a name for himself in England, winning his maiden at Kempton Park (England) in late 2020 before bringing up wins at Goodwood, Doncaster, and Leicester in 2021 – all over the mile.

He arrived in Australia with a record of 13 starts for four wins and racing for David Payne, but he proved a real handful, and he couldn’t rediscover that same form, finishing down the track at Rosehill Gardens and Hawkesbury. 

Williams took over the training, and he soon suspected that Marsabit felt his legs on firmer ground, and he was on the money.

The five-year-old soon found some excellent form, and five starts into his Goulburn stint, he won the $150,000 Country Classic at Rosehill Gardens in November of last year.

After a quick freshen-up, he has returned in stellar form, finishing second in the $200,000 Albury Gold Cup (2000m) on March 24 before another good second in the $75,000 Orange Gold Cup (2100m) on April 14. 

On Saturday, he broke through for a good win at Rosehill Gardens, taking out the 1800m Benchmark 88 Handicap, and Williams couldn’t be prouder of his in-form galloper. 

“He’s going amazing, and we’ve got a very happy horse,” Williams said. 

“He should have gone closer to the winner at Albury, and the way the race was run at Orange, he was a victim of the slow speed, and the winner just had a very economical run, and it was a huge run considering the circumstances, and he pulled very hard.”

Marsabit was ultra-impressive in town on Saturday, with Jay Ford getting the best out of the Goulburn galloper. 

Funnily enough, Marsabit was never meant to race at Rosehill Gardens.

“We weren’t going to go to Sydney, but we felt three weeks may be too much of a break between runs (at Orange and Wagga),” Williams said. 

“The horse had done extremely well, and I thought it might be an easier alternative to go to Rosehill on Saturday instead of going here, and it turned out well with him winning.

Marsabit will be on the six-day backup when contesting the $200,000 Wagga Wagga Gold Cup on Friday.

“Just looking at the horse, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Williams said.

“That was something I was always concerned about because you don’t know the outcome, but what I’ve seen all week, he’s bounced back quite well.” 

Regarding his chances, Quayde Krogh takes the ride, connections draw gate 18, and Thunderbet has locked the five-year-old in as a $13 chance

“As long as the track doesn’t dry out too much, he’ll go good,” Williams replied when asked if Marsabit could win the 2023 Wagga Wagga Gold Cup. 

“He doesn’t like it too firm, and I don’t believe it will be too firm, but he just likes to get the toe into the ground, and we should get that by late tomorrow.”

Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Williams has the $2 million Big Dance and $500,000 Little Dance finals in the back of his mind, with Marsabit eligible to enter those events after his runner-up efforts in the Albury and Orange Gold Cups. 

“He’ll go to the paddock after this run,” Williams said.  

“The Wagga Gold Cup has been our main aim with him this preparation, so at the end of this run, he’ll go to the paddock and have a good break before the Big Dance or Little Dance, and it really depends on how long I’ve got. 

“I haven’t gone back and measured out when I need him back and where he is going, but that will be the focus when he does come back.”

For the moment, the Wagga Wagga Gold Cup is the focus, and a good field will assemble in the rich 10-furlong event. 

Of the remaining country-trained chances, Gary Colvin has Another One (Danny Beasley, $12) in the race, and Maddy Collins will present Gundagai Cup winner The Doctor’s Don (Josh Richards, $41).

With Thunderbet, the race favourite is the Chris Waller-trained Wicklow (Brett Prebble, $4). 

For Wagga fields, click here.