Sunday night’s Rotti Security Distance Championship (650m) at Sale is shaping as a $10,000 afterthought for trainer Janet Cottrell.
Cottrell had been planning on running talented middle distance prospect Perfect Marshall, the winner of 13 of his 29 starts, in the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m) on Melbourne Cup night but had to look elsewhere when he didn’t gain a start.
“We were disappointed he didn’t get a run in the John Dillon,” Cottrell said.
“He was first reserve for the Million Dollar Chase, ran second in a (Group 1) Hume Cup heat, was first reserve for the Hume Cup Final and came out on the same night and went faster than the Hume Cup winner and then he ran 33.93s at Sandown.
“The plan was to head to Sandown but then that went out the window.”
After missing out on the Sir John Dillon Memorial, Cottrell, who trains a small team at Pearcedale with partner Dave Knocker and 17-year-old daughter Kayla Cottrell-Knocker, opted to head to Sale for last Sunday’s heats of the Distance Championship.
WATCH: Perfect Marshall (B3) win his heat of the Rotti Security Distance Championships.
Contesting the first of two heats, Perfect Marshall ($1.70 favourite) continued his consistent form when leading all-the-way in 37.85s, with Weblec Eagle, prepared by Matt Lanigan, winning the second run-off in 37.75s, his third straight win.
“It capped off a big weekend for us after Buffet Destroyer won the Vic Breeders Maiden Final on Melbourne Cup night,” Cottrell said.
“Perfect Marshall did a good job. I thought they all had their chance to beat him if he was vulnerable over the 650m but he stuck on good.
“He’s drawn box seven on Sunday and the dog in the six (Bourbski Bar) wants to go to the fence, so with the long run to the first turn he should get every chance to get into a nice position.
“I thought last week’s run might have taken a bit out of him but he’s pulled up really good. He’s got a few 600s under his belt so hopefully he doesn’t suffer from the second-up syndrome over the distance.
“If he’s high-balling in front I think he’ll be hard to beat.”
In addition to the $10,000 winner’s purse, victory on Sunday is likely to earn Perfect Marshall a crack at the heats of the Group 1 Sale Cup (650m) on Friday, December 20, with the $75,000 to-the-winner Cup Final being held on Boxing Day.
“I’m not sure which dogs will be going to Sale for the Cup but it’s more than likely we’ll head down that road.”