Day At The Track

Duane and Janet Marfisi back to Canada

03:00 PM 20 Dec 2016 NZDT
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Duane and Janet Marfisi with Natalie looking at the camera
Duane and Janet Marfisi
Allstar site photo

Well it is not easy to say goodbye to all the thrills I have had working at harness racing's number one barn The All Stars.

The highlight is quite hard to sort out. Lazarus's Cup win is an obvious one but Adore Me's Cup Day was great too and it was an especial thrill for me when I got the opportunity to go over for the Miracle Mile Day in Sydney. Not only was it a great occasion but we had such a great result that day. Have Faith In Me I always rated as a very special horse from his early days so there was that as well.

I have often been asked what sets Mark and Natalie's operation apart.  There are the obvious things like how they develop a horse to the peak of its potential and the organisation and dedication that goes into it all. The special aspect for me is in their hands.  They can just seem to sense through feel how a horse is doing, and if there is a problem working out a solution.  They might not be able to tell you how they know but they just do.  I mean the results just this year have been sensational, you can only stand and wonder. If I was any help in that I am proud of what I have been able to do but it is what they are able to do that counts most.  I don't think many people outside the game could have any idea how hard they work and just how many aspects there are to running a big stable having that sort of success.

What can I take home from the All Stars operation ? Well Sky Major is already on a Purdon/Rasmussen regime back in Canada. I will be preparing him for Trevor Casey there and he is doing fine so far but training him the All Stars way will be a bit different up there. I am that impressed with their methods that I will be using them instead of the ones I have used up there previously and I had my fair share of success doing it that way.

New Zealand racing? It has a lot going for it but I cannot understand the handicapping system and how it is badly designed for breeders and people who want to race their horses in New Zealand. I thought that would be the aim but it isn't really.  It virtually forces people to sell horses to Australia or at least persuade them that is the best outcome and we are becoming just an export industry.  I wouldn't have thought that was the best outcome for promoting the sport here.  It has to affect the standard of racing and if that doesn't hold up there isn't going to be much new blood coming into the game and there are smaller foal crops anyway.

You might notice a lot of horses sold to North America now are mares. That is no surprise. At home the sexes are kept separate for handicapping purposes. So a good mare never has to run against the colts and has plenty of race opportunities while the open class mares don't get many chances here like they do in America. I thought maybe something like that would help in New Zealand.

I still like the North American handicapping by the stable too. In those claimers you can put your horse at its right level or you can have a go at the higher staked claimers if you think you have a shot. You don't get that freedom here. But the racing is good especially on Cup Day and Jewels Day, another of my favourites.

I still haven't decided what the racing future holds for me up there. I have been offered horses already and I still have a lot of connections up there who want me to train bigger numbers because we had a bit of luck with our claimers before. But at this stage I am still assessing things. Janet has a job she has always wanted at the University of Ontario and I will have to contribute my share! We both have family there too and that is a factor in looking further north.

Will we be back? I hope so. We both loved it here and I enjoyed the racing and the people in it.  We worked hard but we had a lot of fun too.  We certainly have not counted out coming back and from my point of view I have to say it is hard to leave a stable like All Stars.

Thanks to all who have helped and a Merry Xmas and happy New Year to you all from us both.  You live in a great country.

Duane and Janet Marfisi

Courtesy of The Allstars site

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