Leading owner Marsh Shirtliff acquired Prospectors Ticket Number One for the R7,5-million WSB Gold Rush over 1600m at on Met Day, 28 January 2023. With a bit of luck, he’ll be going to Hollywoodbets Kenilworth on the big day with an interest in more than one runner in this rich event. As it turns out, he may also have three or even four runners in the WSB Met itself.
“For the Gold Rush, I have shares in Hammies Hero, Le Mans and Max The Otter. They are all in good early positions on the log. Depending on negotiations with other ticket holders, I can have more than one runner in this novel race. The deal-making behind the scenes is one of the reasons this race was conceptualised and it is exciting, we are getting closer to the business end now,” said Marsh.
Hammies Hero, rated 96 and owned in partnership with Bryn Ressell, occupies joint 11th spot on the log with two wins from four sprints to his name. Marsh recalls: “He was a stunning yearling raised at Klawervlei and undoubtedly the best Twice Over on the 2021 Cape Premier Yearling Sale. Bryn and I were confident we would get R500,000 or more for him. But we had to keep him to ourselves at R250,000 and just as well. He is a beautiful specimen, a game horse who still has to furnish but we are hopeful, he looks the part.
“Bryn and I take turns with racing our runners in our respective silks but this one, being a ‘Hammie’, will carry his colours as Bryn’s Hamilton Rugby Club colours are known for their association with all the runners who have the ‘Hammie’s’ naming prefix.”
Mike Bass selected Le Mans, a R350,000 buy, and Marsh said: “He is a colt by Wylie Hall. I own him in a big partnership. That was quite a lot to pay for a Wylie Hall, but Mike liked him and he has been our trusted source for picking super horses for decades. We think that, with a bit of maturing along with his sire’s influence, Le Mans will see out 1600m. He is currently 19th on the log and having already won two races, has a future.”
Another runner expected to improve as he grows older is Max The Otter (Vercingetorix), already promising with a win and three places from four starts, including a narrow 1600m handicap defeat. Max The Otter, a R425,000 purchase, was selected by Marsh on pedigree. He was also raised at Klawervlei. “He is beautifully bred and will strengthen up with age, he is going to be an exciting horse,” Marsh assessed.
Max The Otter is owned in partnership with sports journalist Gary Lemke, Brian Riley and Marc Shirtliff and Marsh told: “He was named after Marc’s son Max, my seven-year-old grandson who happened to be in the ‘Otter’ class at his school when we named the colt. We are looking forward to his career. He is rated 88 and just outside the Top 20, there is still time and he can get to a higher rating before Gold Rush Day. Whatever happens, he is a horse to follow.”
*Please note: The Gold Rush Log is merely a guide. Ticketholders can even allocate a maiden should they wish to do so.