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Coulee turns clock back 24 years

(Coulee with Jacob Lowry and Brian Anderton)

Coulee became the first horse in 24 years to complete back to back wins in the group three South Island Breeders' Stakes (1600m) for fillies and mares at Riccarton on Saturday (25/3/2017).

She gave trainer Brian Anderton his sixth win in the race, the last four in partnership with son Shane. They have won the race the last three years.

Coulee mastered 57kg in the $80,000 event and won by half a length from stablemate Fascinate after being given a good run close to the pace by stable apprentice Jacob Lowry. He rode the daughter of Gallant Guru - Cherry Creek last year. Gallant Guru sired the 2015 winner, Include for the Anderton stable. Coulee and Include were both bred at White Robe Lodge.

Coulee emulated Freedom Flight, who won the SI Breeders' Stakes in 1992 - 93 when trained by Brian Anderton and ridden by Paul Richards. The stable has also won the race with Monte Carlo (1996), a half-sister to Freedom Flight. Freedom Flight (by Tawfiq) and Monte Carlo (by Random Chance) were both out of Personality Flight. The only other horse to win the SI Breeders' Stakes twice is Mellseur, who succeeded in 1979 -80 when it was run over 1400m by the Geraldine Racing Club at Orari. Mellseur, trained by Hec Anderton was by the WRL sire, Causeur.

Gallant Guru sired Gold'nguru, a winner at Gore on Thursday and fellow WRL sire, Raise The Flag sired Westend Madam, a maiden winner over 2000m. Westend Madam is raced her breeders, brothers Frank and Mike O'Brien, of Monowai and their sister Jane Norman, of Clifden. A 4yr-old trained at Wingatui by Terry Kennedy, she is one of two foals left by Westend Lady, a Seasoned Star mare who won six races. Gold'nguru, trained at Winton by Leda Beck, has now won three races.

Guru Dave (Gallant Guru - Party Player) won a $23,000 1600m maiden at Ballarat on Sunday. He was a $20,000 purchase by John Foote Bloodstock and trainer Darren Weir as a 2yr-old when offered by WRL at the 2013 SI sale.

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Rodney Marsh, a successful jockey who recovered from a horrific injury to train winners when based at Wingatui, has died in Christchurch at the age of 73. Marsh was apprenticed to Mick Didham and rode the winners of 206 races. He rode the Didham-trained Royal Estate to win the Gorge Adams (Tattersall) Handicap and Great Autumn Handicap at the 1966 Canterbury Jockey Club Easter meeting. The same year he won the Dunedin Cup on Carpenter and Riverton Cup on Flying York.

Marsh was training and riding when he was kicked on the head by another horse in the parade ring when leading a horse he trained for the last race at a meeting at Wingatui in February, 1969. He had ridden Middy to win the main race of the day for owner-trainer Gordon Thomson. Marsh's life was in the balance but he recovered to train Catastrophe to win the 1977 Dunedin Guineas, the Newmarket Handicap (an open sprint at Ellerslie as a 3yr-old) and 1978 Timaru Cup for owners Cliff Skeggs  (the then mayor of Dunedin) and Reg Hall.

Brian Anderton recalled riding against Marsh.

"He was a very good rider and one day we had a fair old tussle in a race at Wingatui. I was riding Kumai and he was on Desert Chief."

The race was the Provincial Handicap over a mile and three furlongs (about 2200m) in June, 1963. Kumai ,carrying  nine stone four pounds (59kg) won by half a head from Desert Chief (62kg) with 10 lengths to the third horse Rhythm Rein. Marsh had ridden the Doug O'Neill-trained  Desert Chief to win the Birthday Handicap (2400m) there two days earlier under  9.5(59.5kg). Desert Chief was sold to the United States after the meeting.

Jodema, who won twice as a 2yr-old in 1969, Royal Rejoicing and Opstan were among other winners trained by Marsh.