By Duane Ranger (Courtesy HRNZ)


Sunday’s Parawai Cup win on the Thames grass behind Celtic Warrior has capped off an amazing holiday season for outstanding Cambridge junior driver Kyle Marshall.

The 21-year-old has been on fire all December and January and perhaps he is reaping his karma after he made a kind gesture to Waikato’s poor last month.

“I donated half of my driving fees from early December 12 to Christmas Eve to those people who were struggling at Christmas time. People like single parents, the homeless or those that just needed a little something.

“The idea just came to me when I thought how fortunate I was compared to some people out there. I thought if I can put a smile on someone’s face then I have achieved my goal,” Marshall said.

Marshall had 22 drives during that period and raised $500 for a Hamilton-based organisation.

And those that backed him after Christmas Day will also be counting their dollars.

“It’s been a crazy period really. I’ve got a few longshots home. It’s been a great start to the year. I’m just thankful to all the owners and trainers who have stuck by me,” Marshall said.

The Tim Vince trained and owned Celtic Warrior was the sixth favourite of 11 when winning Sunday’s $8,000 Bayley’s Coromandel Parawai Cup for the C2 and faster pacers. He paid $13.60 to win.

But that’s nothing to some of the other holiday “gifts” he’s handed out.

He drove three winners at Te Awamutu on December 29. The Fred Mitchell trained Cut The Cards paid $34.40 to win; the David Marshall (father) trained Donny Wood paid $30.60; and the Andrew & Lyn Neal trained Turnbulls paid $11.50.

Then you can’t forget the $24.30 the Wendy Davenport trained Pure Desire paid when winning at Wairarapa on January 2.

A day earlier he won behind his Dad’s 7-year-old mare – Sarah Lendenny at Cambridge Raceway. She was the $3.50 second favourite.

Marshall’s Parawai Cup win was his second at Thames. He also won the feature event in 2013 behind the Marshall senior trained Tyler Maguire.

Celtic Warrior started nicely from her front-line four draw and led early before handing up to Shestherealdeal and Sailesh Abernethy just before the home straight the second last time.

They then ended up three-deep when favourite Major Star and Brent Mangos took the lead down the back straight.

“He was always travelling well. When I got her off the markers before the turn I thought she was travelling like the winner. Tim had him spot on today. I’m grateful for the drive,” Marshall said.

The 6-year-old Mach Three gelding paced the 2600m stand in 3:32.8 (mile rate 2:11.7) with final 800m and 400m sprints of 61.5 and 30.6.

It was Celtic Warrior’s seventh win in 58 starts and his stake earnings now rest just shy of $50,000. He was bred by Aucklanders Greg & Jill Datson and their friend Ross Darrah.