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Marquesas set to return

Top two-year-old of 2017 down to compete for the first time this season

Observer writer

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Time is running out for preparations to be completed for the season's first two Classic races, the 1000 and 2000 Guineas scheduled for April 14 and 15, respectively.

The final official preparation race for the 1000 and 2000, the Front Runner- sponsored Thornbird Stakes (fillies only) and the Prince Consort Stakes (colts and geldings) are down for competition on Saturday next (March 17, 2018).

The provisional entries and weights allotted for both prep races were distributed by the promoting company over last weekend, with the Prince Consort catching the eye because of the presence of champion two-year-old of last year and winner of the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes run on Boxing Day, the Michael Marlowe-trained Marquesas.

It is the first time this season that Marquesas is being entered to race, with the Prince Consort probably his only event before venturing in the one-mile (1,600m) 2000 Guineas. Expect jockey Shane Ellis to renew his association with Marquesas in the Prince Consort.

Of note also in this race is the absence of the much-improved Commander Two, conditioned by trainer Patrick Taylor.

Another notable absentee from the Prince Consort line-up is upset winner of the recent Sir Howard Stakes (six furlongs), Wilson. It now seems that trainer Richard Azan has decided to go straight into the 2000 Guineas with Wilson.

Champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is represented in the Prince Consort by Without Exception, who disappointed when last at the racetrack, and Drummer Boy. Jockey Omar Walker is down to mount up on Without Exception and Dane Nelson on Drummer Boy.

In the Thornbird, Band Of Gold — the recent winner of the Hot Line Stakes — carries top weight of 57.0 kgs (126 lbs) along with My Sister, trained by Gary Subratie, and Nadeshico representing trainer Anthony Nunes

Absent from the Thornbird is probably the favourite to win the 1000 Guineas, Honey Ryda from the shed row of trainer Azan. Honey Ryda's next stop is the 1000 Guineas.

Overall, 13 horses are entered for the Thornbird and 14 for the Prince Consort.