Marvellous Marva for today's feature
Philip Feanny has reaffirmed his confidence in female apprentice Mellisa Ward by rewarding her with a second ride aboard ever-improving MARVELLOUS MARVA in this afternoon's Owen Silvera Memorial at a mile, following her Labour Day victory with the five-year-old mare in the Mark My Word Trophy.
Ward scored a narrow all-the-way victory, beating HOVER CRAFT by a head, but now faces a 15lb weight swing in a rematch with champion trainer Wayne DaCosta's runner.
HOVER CRAFT will carry 110lb this afternoon, down from 125lb on Labour Day, whereas MARVELLOUS MARVA returns with 119lb, the exact weight she had in her plucky victory with Ward.
DaCosta has four in-form runners in the six-horse field - HOVER CRAFT, RADICAL, UNCLE FRANK, and SUPERTRONICS - recent winners, who are all in receipt of weight from MARVELLOUS MARVA.
However, whereas MARVELLOUS MARVA is going for a fourth open-allowance victory, only HOVER CRAFT, from DaCosta's quartet, has ever won at the level.
Despite giving weight all around, MARVELLOUS MARVA's rapid improvement as a four-year-old, at the back end of last season, still makes her the horse to beat.
After winning the Mark My Word, Feanny's runner faced grade one horses a week ago, the Viceroy Trophy, and was only beaten four and a quarter lengths by HOUDINI'S MAGIC fast 1:50.4 at nine furlongs.
Always prominent throughout, MARVELLOUS MARVA sat in splits of 1:10.3 for six furlongs and 1:35.4 for a mile, a pace that ran two of the best horses in the country, WILL IN CHARGE AND BIGDADDYKOOL, totally off their legs.
Meanwhile, BIMINI the third-longest shot on the board, yesterday stunned rivals at 14-1 in the five-furlong round overnight allowance sprint, pouncing on the trio of SIR BUDGET, POLLY B, and TALENTED TONY K, who engaged in a breakneck speed duel down the backstretch and into the lane.
Sitting fourth in the catbird seat along the rail, BIMINI hit top stride in the stretch run with apprentice Odeen Edwards and came forward strongly to hit the front a furlong out.
CRUCIAL APPEAL ran on inside the final half-furlong to chase home BIMINI, who clocked 1:00.3 for the distance, refitted with the blinkers in which she had made a brave bid at odds of 9-1, going five and a half furlongs but caught and beaten into fifth place by WONG DON a month ago.