Stephen Marsh couldn't be happier with the progress of Whanganui part-owned Crown Prosecutor as he goes into the biggest assignment of his training career this weekend.
Marsh will saddle up last season's Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) winner in the A$5 million Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on Saturday, fresh from an improver's last-start third behind Melody Belle in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings. Crown Prosecutor is owned and raced in a 50/50 partnership between Whanganui's Harvey and Linda Green's Huntingdale Lodge 2012 Ltd and Wellington's Lib Petanga's JML Bloodstock Ltd.
Last week the connections took the gamble planning a tilt at the cup despite their galloper being 21 in order of entry in what will be an 18-horse field.
And it is three years since the Cambridge trainer enjoyed his most important Australian win when Sofia Rosa won the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick and, though he realises Crown Prosecutor is rated an outsider in the Caulfield feature, he is expecting a bold effort from the son of Medaglia D'Oro who races in the same colours as Sofia Rosa.
"He went over last Wednesday and he's settled in super," Marsh said.
"I know it's a top field and a big step up from the Livamol, but he's on the way up and he's earned a start. We know he can get the distance.
"He mightn't be up to winning it, but it's a A$5 million race and there's good money right back to A$120,000 for 10th. Hopefully he can get some of it."
Crown Prosecutor's New Zealand Derby-winning rider Craig Grylls has ridden the four-year-old in his past two starts and retains the mount in Saturday's Caulfield Cup.
"We're happy to stick with Craig," Marsh said. "He can do the 52.5kg weight and he knows him so well."