Roger James went home from Ellerslie today with some Australian homework to complete.
The Cambridge trainer was all smiles after watching his smart mare Full Of Spirit return to racing in splendid style with a half-length win in the JRA Trophy (1400m). It was Full Of Spirit’s first start since a two-race Sydney autumn campaign and she passed the first-up test with flying colours.
Ridden for the first time by Tasha Collett, Full Of Spirit settled back in the open-class field and unleashed an irresistible burst down the outside to outgun another fresh-upper, the under-rated Postman’s Daughter.
“I’ve made no plans for her at this start. That’s why I ran her here today, to get a line on her,” said James. “It was a big effort to win and her class came through in the end. Part of last season was teaching her to race and we’ve identified the benefits of that today.”
When pressed on the next step for Full Of Spirit, James confirmed he would again consider Australia.
“There’s Sydney and Melbourne and one of them beckons,” he said. “I’ll just go home and see how she comes through this and work it out.”
Full Of Spirit has always looked a very talented galloper, right from the outset when she flew home to win her debut at Tauranga. She was unlucky on quite a few occasions and had to wait until her eighth start to notch her second win, that success coming impressively over 1600 metres at Awapuni.
On the strength of the Awapuni win, she was taken to Sydney where she immediately showed her class with a strong win in the Group III Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in the hands of James McDonald.
Though she was beaten in her other Sydney start, that performance for fourth in the Group I AJC Oaks was very creditable as she was at the end of a campaign and had to contend with a soft track.
Full Of Spirit showed her readiness for today’s outing when beating stablemate Rasteau at the recent Paeroa trials.
- Cambridge JC