James Becomes Million Dollar Man

Roger James was counting the loot on Saturday.

The Cambridge trainer broke through the $1 million barrier for stakes earnings in New Zealand for the season when Misstrum won the Listed $50,000 Great Northern Foal Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.

James became the fifth trainer to hit seven figures this season after John Sargent, Lisa Latta, Jason Bridgman and Stephen McKee.

But his success hasn't been restricted to just New Zealand, as Red Shift's third placing in the Gr III Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on Saturday took his Australian stakes earnings tally past $500,000.

It also added to a fine season James has had with fillies and mares through the likes of star three-year-old Silent Achiever, Gr III Adrian Knox Stakes winner Full Of Spirit and Listed Soliloquy Stakes winner Holy Moly.

Prestigious Miss, Splitsecond, Zonza and La Vienne have also gained stakes placings for the fairer sex in James' stable.

''It's been a good season for the stable and I'm especially proud of the record we've got with fillies and mares,'' James said from Brisbane on Saturday.

Misstrum continued that good record when she came with a dashing late sprint for rider Leith Innes to deny the favourite, About Square, by a neck.

It was a rare maiden win in a stakes race, the Stratum filly having run fourth and third in her first two starts.

''I've liked her for a while,'' James said.

''Her first two runs weren't much more than educational and it didn't surprise me at all that she's won today.

''She'll come back to the stable for a few days and then have a month or so off. She could be a Guineas filly next year. ''

Innes was impressed with his mount.

''She probably wasn't overly comfortable with the [dead] track conditions. There's not much of her but she's done the job really well today,'' he said.

''She was a little bit slow away but I've got the breaks when I wanted and she's let down really nicely. It's good to get a Listed win on the board for the owners - they're good people.''

Haunui Farm's Mark and Sara Chitty and Ron and Carolyn Chitty race Misstrum along with stud clients Maureen Duncan and Cathy Franich.

Mark Chitty had initially bought the filly as a weanling to pinhook at the Karaka yearling sales.

Cambridge bloodstock agent Michael Wallace bid A$135,000 to secure her at a Gold Coast sale on the Chittys' behalf but she went into the Karaka yearling sales under-prepared after she spent three months in her box recovering from fractured femur and she failed to make her reserve.

That has proved to be a blessing in disguise as her value soared with her stakes win on Saturday and with the indication that she has a potentially bountiful three-year-old season ahead of her.

- © Fairfax NZ News

Posted: Mon 28 May 2012