Marway scored an impressive win in the $200K Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on Thursday.
Marway scored an impressive win in the $200K Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on Thursday.

CQ galloper scores ‘fantastic’ win at Wagga

Locally owned and bred Marway has rightly earned the elite “Rockhampton Rocket” moniker after his devastating win in the $200K Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on Thursday.

Bred by his Rockhampton owners Greg and Elaine Sturgiss who race the Hemingway 5YO in conjunction with Paul and Barbara Wagner (Springsure), Marway has become a revelation since taking up residency in Sydney.

With three Sydney wins prior to his Wagga winning demolition, his astute Randwick trainer Mark Newnham branded Marway’s Plate win as “fantastic” while admitting he has been “lucky to get him”.

“He is a really genuine fast horse who went super at Wagga. He relaxed a lot more than at his previous Randwick win (Anzac Day),” Newnham said from Sydney on Friday.

“He has come through the Wagga race well and now he will have an easy week.”

Marway won eight races in Central Queensland under Callaghan Park trainer John O’Sing and earned the title of 2019 Rockhampton Jockey Club Horse of the Year.

In what was considered in some quarters to be a bold albeit ambitious move at the time (2020), the owners transferred him to Newnham at Randwick to “give him a go in Sydney”.

Marway has proven their faith in no uncertain terms and it seems he is just at the foot of his ascendency designed at enhancing his status to an elitist crescendo in Group race status.

However, such a momentous win as achieved by Marway at Wagga when, after cruising in the lead to going into overdrive and accelerating to a four-length win in a brilliant 1min 08.48secs, certainly attracts the scrutiny of handicappers.

“I’ll have to see how he is rated in the benchmarks now before deciding which way to go with him,” Newnham said.

The two race options the trainer said he was considering as the next start for Marway will be run in June.

“He will either run in the Moreton Cup (1200m) at Eagle Farm on June 5 or the LR Bob Charley Stakes (1100m) at Randwick on June 12,” Newnham said.

Under the set weight conditions of the $200K Moreton Cup, Marway would only carry 55kg while the $150K Bob Charley is run under handicap conditions where the weight would be determined by the class of entries.

Newnham said Marway, which he described as an “aggressive horse work (training) wise”, had adapted to a change in training techniques he has employed.

“He doesn’t gallop much but I have him worked off the pony a lot in the bullring (Randwick) as well as swimming him,” he said.

“That way he is not ridden every day and he seems to enjoy that. He is a very fit horse now so I won’t have to do much with him.”

Currently the winner of 12 races, including three in Sydney and with a nest egg of $413,670 alongside that name Marway, his proud owners are having the ride of their lives.

Their 1561km trip from Rockhampton to Wagga earlier this week was spawned and fuelled by hopes but the return journey would have been ignited by the exhilaration and blissful reality of owning a very special racehorse.

The “Rockhampton Rocket” tag was coined in 1957 when bestowed on world champion tennis player Rod Laver who was from the city.

In horse racing it was reinvented in November 2014 when assigned to Rockhampton-owned Our Boy Malachi which won four Sydney races and was GR 2 placed before winning in that prestigious company at Caulfield.

Ironically, the common thread with both “Rockhampton Rockets” is that they raced highly successfully at the city’s racecourse, Callaghan Park, under the tutorage of John O’Sing.

It is a mighty compliment to trainer O’Sing’s ability to develop both sprinters in the formative stages of their racing careers, thereby giving them the soundest of groundings to pave the way to the next level.

Ultimately, Rockhampton racing and, in Marway’s case, the Capricornia Yearling Sale from which he was a graduate, share in his winning laurels.

Speaking of Callaghan Park, racing heads there on Saturday for a seven-race TAB card commencing at 1.07pm.

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