Prescott’s filly leading Britain’s charge
It has been 21 years since his previous success, but Sir Mark Prescott believes he has a horse that is primed and ready to win him the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for a second time.
It was Cheveley Park Stud-owned Pivotal that came good for Prescott over five furlongs in 1996, doing so in 59.49 seconds — the quickest time in a decade.
Now, fast-forward to the present day and it is the four-year-old Marsha that Prescott will be pinning his hopes on come Tuesday.
The Acclamation filly underlined her credentials by landing the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in October, giving jockey Luke Morris his biggest success to date in the process.
And that form continued during last month’s Guineas Festival at Newmarket, where Marsha became the first filly since Lochsong in 1994 to defy a penalty in winning the Palace House Stakes.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Lochsong also went on to win the King’s Stand Stakes that year — another good omen as far as Prescott is concerned.
“She has beaten horses after giving away seven pounds, that last year were much closer to her,” he said of his horse’s improvement over the winter.
“She had a very good break and has a good spring in her step. Now, we have to do everything we can to keep her healthy.
“It was a long time ago, but Lochsong showed what is possible.
“We need the ground to be dry.
“It is essential because she is all about speed.
“If we get that, which looks likely, we are confident because she has already proved the form book this year.”
As well as representing Prescott and her large syndicate of owners that go under the umbrella of the Elite Racing Club, Marsha will also be flying the flag for Great Britain in Berkshire.
Widely available as a second favourite 4-1 shot, Marsha is sandwiched between the American duo of Lady Aurelia and Acapulco in the betting markets.
“It is only based on the one run at Newmarket, but Marsha is the best of the home team,” added her trainer.
“If she can run as well as that then she will take some stopping by the overseas horses.
“We do not know what their challenge will amount to yet. It is a step into the unknown in that sense.”