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Marway salutes on Sydney debut

By Tony McMahon

Fate works in funny ways and it was certainly in play when Central Queensland owned Marway forged a name for himself in the ‘‘big smoke” at Warwick Farm, Sydney on Australia Day.

Having his first start since winning for Rockhampton trainer John O’Sing at Callaghan Park on April 7 last year, Marway’s fighting win in the $59,000 1000-metre BM72 Handicap made quite an impression.

That was certainly the case with his Randwick trainer Mark Newnham and winning jockey Rachael King.

“Mark thinks he’s pretty good and there are more wins in store for him,” managing owner and breeder Greg Sturgiss said.

“Rachael also reported she feels that way too about him, it’s all good and the email has come through that Marway has come through the race really well.”

Marway – a five-year-old bay gelding - is raced by Rockhampton couple Greg and Elaine Sturgiss as well as close friends Paul and Barbara Wagner.

Because of COVID restrictions, the couples watched the Warwick Farm meeting from the lounge rooms in their homes via SKY and by all reports from their thrilling screams of encouragement, their roofs were nearly lifted.

‘’I suppose you could say our thrills during and just after the race were over the top, the phones never stopped ringing with calls and emails of congratulations - it was amazing”, Sturgiss said.

As a result, Marway has won nine races and recorded another seven placings from his 22 starts thereby accruing $237,075 in prizemoney.


However, just one more bid on Sunday, April 11, 2017 at the Capricornia Yearling Sales would have deprived Marway’s owners of the indescribable thrills he has rewarded them.

Marway was a home bred out at The Caves by the Sturgiss’ through their resident stallion the Irish winning Spectrum stallion Hemingway and their dual winner, the broodmare Maredamah.

“Elaine and I had a $15,000 reserve on him to be sold, bidding stopped at $14k and we stuck to our reserve and took him home - I am glad we did now,” Sturgiss said.

A feisty customer at times with an initial dislike for the barrier stalls, the naturally talented Marway won eight races under John O’Sing - including the $50,000 CYS 3&4YO Championships (1300m) at Callaghan Park last April.

In that race Marway carried 61.5kg in a stirring win and set a record time for the present Callaghan Park grass track, so naturally those stats became the catalyst for him to be given his chance in Sydney.

Consistent to the idiom ‘’the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray,” Marway’s first training preparation in Sydney became a source of frustration for his owners.

‘’He had been in training and was within about a month of racing when he did damage to his hock, that meant he had to go out and spell for three months,” Sturgiss said.

When back to his Randwick stables and in full training again, the reports from the Mark Newnham stable were very positive.

These were consolidated when Marway won a Randwick open class trial over 740 metres on January 7 in the fastest time of the morning.

The rest as they say is history with Marway winning so brilliantly under 58.5kg last Tuesday and justifying his owner’s faith.

In the last decade, two other Rockhampton-owned and formerly Callaghan Park-trained horses have reached their career pinnacles from Sydney bases.

Naturally, Our Boy Malachi, who also had its career successfully launched and maintained for seasons by John O’Sing, became a superstar in the south.

The dual Rockhampton Newmarket winner won his first four Sydney races consecutively from November 2014 before going on to become a Group 2 winner at Caulfield and a Group 1 placegetter.

Seemingly, the Jim Rundle-owned and trained multiple Rockhampton winner Idance commenced the trend this decade winning four Sydney races from February 2014.

However, it is nothing new for a Rockhampton trained prolific winning horse to hit the headlines in southern metropolises.

In 1962, Rocky Boy raced by the late bookmaker Vince Murphy and family departed Rockhampton Airport on a flight south before going on to win at the four metropolitan racecourses in Melbourne.

Before Our Boy Malachi came along, Rocky Boy held the unchallenged status of the best horse ever to come off Callaghan Park racecourse.

Who knows what that trickster fate will decree now for Marway?