Marsh Shirtliff burst into prominence as an owner in South Africa during a halcyon few years in which he had shares in the greats Pocket Power, River Jetez, Jay Peg and What A Winter and a number of other class horses.
The legendary Mike Bass-trained Pocket Power (Jet Master) won Marsh his first Hollywoodbets Durban July when dead-heating with Dancer’s Daughter and Mike’s daughter Candice Bass-Robinson trained his second July winner, Marinaresco (Silvano), who produced a flying finish to get up in 2017.
Both horses carried his familiar blue, white and pink colours.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe was aboard for both Pocket Power’s and Marinaresco’s July wins and the Shirtliff/Fayd’Herber partnership now team up with the Justin Snaith-trained Pomp And Power, who is part-owned by Cape Racing’s much appreciated leader Greg Bortz as well as Etienne Braun.
Marsh also has a share in the Vaughan Marshall-trained Rascallion, who was a touch unlucky when fifth in the July two years ago as a three-year-old.
Rascallion looks to be back to his best after an injury-enforced layoff from December 2021 until November last year.
Rascallion is a 16/1 shot but on paper has the 7/1 shot Winchester Mansion and the 10/1 shot Pacaya beaten. He will be 3,5kg better off with Pacaya for a one length beating in the Gr 2 WSB 1900 and he will be 5,5kg better off with Winchester Mansion for a 0,70 length beating.
Both Pomp And Power and Rascallion were unlucky in a messy WSB Met and could have got closer than a 1,20 length third and a 1,80 length sixth respectively.
Pomp And Power is an enigmatic sort capable of producing a world class performance, but he is his own worst enemy and often wastes too much energy before or during the race.
Both horses are geldings by boom sire Vercingetorix.
Pomp And Power is drawn widest of all in 18 and Rascallion is drawn 15.
Marsh said on Tuesday at the HDJ final field announcement and draw ceremony, “In true Hollywood fashion I thought it was a great event. For myself I got up very early this morning and flew in to get the worst draw (18), but in saying that the horse is capable of running from there and maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. I’m sure Greg and Eteinne aren’t happy with it, but that’s the way it is and you can’t always have a great draw. As for Rascallion, he needed a better draw than 15. Look, wherever he is drawn he will do his best. We’ve got good jocks on both horses. Bernie is flying in for Pomp And Power and he’s won this race twice for us before. So I have every confidence in both him and in Pomp And Power, he’s in great shape. Rascallion is also certainly in great shape, I wouldn’t judge him on his run in the HWB Gold Challenge, the mile is a distance short of his best. I think he will run a top race, but he could have had a better draw.”
He added, “I’m not concerned about the weights on our horses (Pomp And Power 58kg, Rascallion 57.5kg), it’s always better to have less, but I think we are fairly treated. We’ll just take our chances on the day and hope we get the breaks in the running.”
Marsh added about Pomp And Power, ‘We got badly done in the Met, so that’s why we are hoping for more here. He’s used to the scuffles, so let’s see how it goes. Bernie likes to bring them from off the pace. He produced a masterful ride on Marinaresco six years ago, it was the ride of the season here in Durban (He came from way back). I expect the best from Bernie, he is a class act.”
He concluded, “Corne Orffer was booked to ride Rascallion a long while back. I have every confidence in him. He knows the horse and has won good races on him (including the Gr 2 Anthonij Rupert Wyne Premier Trophy over 1800m on l’Ormarins King’s Plate day).”