- Trainer: Sir Mark Prescott
- Likely Jockey: Luke Morris
- Owner: Elite Racing Club
- Age & Breeding: 3-year-old filly; Acclamation – Marlinka
- Season Form Figures: 132312
- Career Highlight: Stirring victory in the Nunthorpe at York
2017 has seen Sir Mark Prescott breaking new ground. The Heath House trainer launched his first official website in September, and in November he will have the first Breeders' Cup runner of his four-decade career in the shape of flying filly Marsha.
Any surprise at this fact soon wanes when you consider that the slow-maturing stayers that Prescott is renowned for training are treated with thinly veiled disdain by American breeders. A brief flirtation with staying races was attempted with the introduction of the Breeders' Cup Marathon, but was swiftly ushered out, proving to be an underwhelming and unedifying spectacle that likely left Breeders' Cup race-planners red-faced. The Turf Sprint was created at the same time as the Marathon, and, in line with a general trend towards speed, has proved much more popular.
This year, the Turf Sprint will be run over five furlongs, as opposed to the six-and-a-half furlong trip it was contested over last year. This will have undoubtedly made the decision to send Marsha across the Atlantic somewhat easier, with no worries about having to stretch her stamina out, and she was ensured a spot in the race following her stirring victory in the Nunthorpe.
Much rests on the form of that race, and Marsha will renew rivalry with Lady Aurelia in what may very well be a rubber match, the current score standing at one apiece.
The American filly will once more provide a formidable opponent, having blitzed a field that included Marsha, second, at Royal Ascot, before again showing her blistering pace on the Knavesmire, looking sure to win one furlong out. However, Marsha, granite-tough and galvanised by a will-not-lose drive from Luke Morris, dug deep and was able to mow down Lady Aurelia on the line as Frankie Dettori punched the air in misguided glee.
Marsha has since found the soft ground of the l'Abbaye against her, but still ran well considering and that should tee her up nicely for the for the last leg of her trilogy with Lady Aurelia. Much will depend on the draw and pace, but a sound gallop will give Marsha every chance of landing a maiden Breeders' Cup victory for her wily trainer at the very first attempt.