Homeward-bound Marshall to miss meeting
A MYSTERY back ailment has floored John Marshall who is battling to be fit for his final day in the saddle in Hong Kong on Sunday. The lightweight Australian rider has virtually ruled out riding on Wednesday night at Sha Tin and is finishing his four-year Hong Kong stint in considerable pain. Trainer David Hill's retained rider was forced to forego three rides on Saturday night as a possible torn cartilage in his back restricted his movement. 'I rode a couple at the track on Saturday morning and did not feel much at all. There was a slight twinge when I got home and then I had a sleep in the afternoon before going to Sha Tin. 'When I woke up I could hardly move, the pain was quite intense. It has eased a lot since, but I am still having trouble moving freely,' said Marshall yesterday. He will see a specialist today, but expects to be riding at the final meeting of the season on Sunday. He said: 'I have three or four rides on the last day and I would not like to miss that meeting.
I've had four years in Hong Kong and enjoyed it a lot so I would much rather go out on an active note - and, hopefully, a winning one.' None of Marshall's three intended rides on Saturday night finished in the frame. Meanwhile, crack English colt Celtic Swing yesterday justified the controversial decision to sidestep Epsom by taking the French Derby by a cosy half length on the rain-softened ground he loves at Chantilly.
Jockey Kevin Darley, riding his first Classic winner at his first visit to the picturesque Chantilly venue, only had to push out Celtic Swing to hold home challengers, Poliglote and Winged Love.
The former Ivan Allan-owned Classic Cliche, racing in Sheik Mohammed's colours, sat just off a sedate pace but had no answer when Darley asked Celtic Swing for his winning effort as they turned for home.