The fresh brigade challenging Melody Belle in the Windsor Park Plate is set to keep growing.
After her come-from-last dazzler in the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings three weeks ago, Melody Belle is $1.80 to win the second leg of the Triple Crown there on Saturday, with the step up to 1600m expected to suit her even more.
While there were some handy performances behind her in the Tarzino, with favourite Endless Drama in particular unlucky, punters might find it a battle to back anything who finished behind her that day.
So the fresh blood of 4-year-olds Vigor Winner and Cutadeel will add a new dimension to the Plate, and they could be joined by at least one, maybe two, of last season's top 3-year-olds.
Vodafone Derby winner Crown Prosecutor is going to be a late entry for the race, along with stablemate Vernanme, with the former certain to start.
"We are definitely keen with Crown Prosecutor, but while Vernanme might go there, I am leaning slightly towards the open mile at Pukekohe on Sunday," says Stephen Marsh.
"He might get in better there, but at this stage, both horses could also turn up back at Hastings for the Livamol [October 5]."
The high-class pair resumed for Marsh at Ruakaka three weeks ago and both looked short of a run, so while they won't threaten Melody Belle at the head of the market, or maybe even on the track, they are at least proven group horses adding depth to an already impressive Windsor Park Plate.
The possible quartet of 4-year-old newcomers are likely to be joined by Hello It's Me, who has bounced right back to her best this campaign, and Mongolian Marshal, who was a strong third in his comeback race 10 days ago, form that was franked by Herengawe's win in the Metric Mile at Awapuni on Saturday.
The field for the Windsor Park Plate is out tomorrow morning.
Marsh will also have Saturday's Breeders Stakes runner-up from Ruakaka in Exuberant set for the Hawke's Bay Guineas on the last day of the carnival.
"He was good the other day but just beaten by a better horse in Catalyst," he says.
With good horses come plenty of options, and Marsh is aware he may have to split his stars as carnivals such as Riccarton loom after Hastings and owners get interested in chasing Australian riches with the better horses, but he is about to get a super-experienced new helper who might be useful in that regard.
Marsh's father Bruce returns home today after a 14-year tenure in Singapore which followed his hugely successful career here.
Marsh senior is now 69 so doesn't intend training but was never going to totally walk away from the industry, so Stephen sees himself as gaining a headful of experience at a cheap price.
"It is going to be great to have Dad here as another set of eyes," says Marsh. "He won't be training or even part of the staff.
"He just wants to come down, go to the races from time to time and help us out where it is needed.
"And he said he isn't against taking a horse or two away if we need that. So to have him and Mum home will be fantastic.
"We have discussed wages. He said he will help out however he can, as long as I pay him in red wine," laughs the Cambridge trainer.
Bruce Marsh, who won the Melbourne Cup as a jockey on Silver Knight is 1971, fittingly trained a winner on his last raceday in Singapore on Sunday with one of his all-time favourites in 11-year-old Supernova.