James In Good Spirits Ahead Of Myer

Cambridge trainer Roger James is happy to put a line through Full Of Spirit’s Myer Classic leadup race, writes Aidan Rodley.

Steven Arnold’s booking for Full Of Spirit in Saturday’s A$500,000 Myer Classic at Flemington on Saturday is all the assurance Cambridge trainer Roger James needs.

James was a little shellshocked when Full Of Spirit could only finish 10th of 11 runners in the Gr III Moonga Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday week.

That failure had followed a fresh-up open handicap win at Ellerslie and a fast-finishing sixth in the Gr II Blazer Stakes (1410m) at Flemington when the Flying Spur four-year-old mare dashed home her last 600m in quicker than 33 seconds.

Leading into the Caulfield race, Arnold had warned James that Full Of Spirit might find the track a little tricky at her first appearance there and after the race jockey Corey Brown confirmed that the mare had got lost and was unable to let down as he would have expected.

‘‘Caulfield the first time can often trip up a horse and that’s what Corey Brown said he thought had happened with her. And Steven Arnold had told me that could happen before the race,’’ James said yesterday.

‘‘She’s thrived since. I’ve just had to keep on top of her because she’s doing that well over here. I can’t fault her condition and she’s definitely worth having a go.’’

Arnold was aboard for the Blazer Stakes and climbs back on for Saturday’s 1600m Gr I fillies and mares set-weights feature in which Full Of Spirit is set to come against mares the ilk of Streama, Secret Admirer, Yosei, Red Tracer and Star Of Giselle.

Full Of Spirit is one of five Waikato gallopers entered for Flemington on Saturday with the Murray Baker-trained Gr I Spring Champion Stakes winner Dundeel set to start favourite in the blue-riband A$1.5 million Victoria Derby (2500m) with Cambridge jockey James McDonald booked to ride.

The Gary Hennessy-trained Cox Plate hero Ocean Park will back up in the Gr I A$1 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), while the John Steffert-trained Back In Black will contest the Gr III A$250,000 Lexus Quality (2500m) with former Waikato jockey Michael Walker aboard in a last-ditch effort to qualify for next Tuesday’s A$6.2 million Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Meanwhile, James has described Silent Achiever’s win in last Saturday’s Gr II Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley as career-defining.

James produced Carson’s Cash to win the same race in 1992 but rated Silent Achiever’s effort in becoming the first mare to win the race as superior.

‘‘I thought it was the defining moment of her career,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s easy to get carried away with her [New Zealand] Derby win but that race was exclusive to three-year-olds and it’s only when they are four and they come up against the older horses that you can really measure how good they are.

‘‘She mixed it with the big boys on a track that didn’t really suit her. She was taking on weight-for-age company and proven weight-for-age performers at mile, which is short of her best distance, but she’s beaten a Doncaster winner in Rangirangdoo fairly and squarely. I took a lot of satisfaction out of that win.’’

- Waikato Times

Posted: Wed 31 Oct 2012