It’s all about the future at Ellerslie tomorrow.
Cambridge trainer Roger James will produce exciting sprinting prospect Future King in the $15,000 Lindauer 1200 in the knowledge that a win could be crucial if his Encosta de Lago four-year-old stallion prospect is to secure a start in next month’s Gr I $250,000 Telegraph Handicap (1200m) at Trentham.
With James unlikely to give Future King another start before the Telegraph, tomorrow’s race takes on extra significance as the impressive last-start Ellerslie winner needs the hike up the ratings that a win would bring.
‘‘I think he can be well-placed in the Telegraph. I’m pushing to get him there and I’m going to give him his opportunity,’’ James said.
‘‘He’s four now and sometimes you only get certain windows of opportunity with stallions and I’d like to be pressing forward to something pretty important if I could. If he doesn’t get in, he doesn’t get in, but let’s hope he does.’’
Future King missed a start at Ellerslie on Boxing Day through being balloted out of the Listed Newmarket Handicap, while James elected to bypass a rating race in which he was drawn wide in favour of tomorrow’s race.
However, James said he would have run started Future King in the Newmarket had he gained a start even with a wide draw.
‘‘Even though he was drawn wide I would have. It was a black-type race and I’m trying to elevate his rating to get him into a Telegraph Handicap,’’ James said.
‘‘We were a bit stiff missing really because in the last two years on his rating he would have got in the field.’’
Future King produced a dazzling sprint to score an emphatic 2 1/4-length Rating 65 win at Ellerslie on December 1, finishing with a sub-34 second last 600m to take his record to two wins from four starts.
Afterwards James revealed Future King had suffered from chronic shin soreness and after a second placing at Te Rapa in October he pulled up so sore in both his front legs that he was panting and unable to put his full weight on them.
However, while jockey Vinnie Colgan said Future King had been tentative going around to the start at Ellerslie earlier this month, he had let down genuinely and James yesterday reported no issues with his legs since that race.
‘‘He’s done really well. I’ve been happy with him in every respect. He’s bounced through that run and I suspect everybody was right all the time and that it was immaturity and shin soreness.
‘‘The last thing you want in any racehorse is that they are feeling pain when they are trying hard but he clearly didn’t last time and he clearly hasn’t in his work since either.’’
Future King steps up to Rating 85 company tomorrow but drops from 59kg last time to just 54.5kg and James is again expecting him to be competitive.
‘‘He’ll find the speed early and I expect a big effort from him,’’ James said.
A beautifully-bred entire out of James’ dual Gr I-winning mare Foxwood, Future King’s third dam is Taiona, who left six-time Gr I winner Sovereign Red, Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner Gurner’s Lane and fellow Gr I winner Trichelle, so he has the pedigree to make a stallion, with a Gr I win the only missing ingredient to make a commercial sire.
James said Future King was tractable and he was optimistic of securing the elite-level win he needed with the horse.
‘‘He’s a masculine horse but he’s good on raceday and while he’s a big horse by build, he’s not getting heavy as such,’’ James said.
James’ Kingsclere Stables has a quiet weekend with just Future King racing but Tuesday’s New Year’s Day racing at Ellerslie will see Full Of Spirit tackle the Gr II $100,000 Rich Hill Mile, Misstrum contest the Gr II $100,000 Royal Stakes (2000m), C’est Magnifique in the Gr II $100,000 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m), Le Moussier in the $75,000
Dunstan Feeds Championship Mile (2200m) and Bellazeel and Wairaka contest the 2100m special conditions maiden.
- Waikato Times