Champion trainer Roger James keenly anticipates the start of the 2013/2014 racing season, as he considers the assignments ahead for his Cambridge based team. He talked to Darryl Anderson during the week and outlined the firepower within his stable, and some of his targets which include key group races both in New Zealand and Australia.
New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever (O’Reilly) has been back in work for four weeks and has an exciting Australian campaigned mapped out for her this spring, with her primary goal being the 2400m Caulfield Cup.
The Kevin Hickman-bred and owned four-year-old mare is expected to have three runs into the October 19 Gr.1 feature, the first of these being the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in August. Whilst the mile-and-a-half (2400m) Caulfield Cup is the firm focus for the O’Reilly mare, a tilt at the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday in November is also in the back of her trainers mind. “If the grand plan comes to fruition, by the middle of November she will have competed in six races for stakes totalling almost $A11 million. We may even get into the Melbourne Cup on 52.5kg, which will be a very competitive weight” said James.
Full Of Spirit (Flying Spur) has also been back at the stable for the month of June, and may accompany Silent Achiever across the Tasman. Full of Spirit, a winner of the Gr.3 Adrian Knox Stakes at Randwick, will need to perform in the first two legs of the Hastings carnival, the Gr.1 Makfi Stakes (1400m) on August 31st, and the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) September 21st to validate her Australian campaign.
Talented Zabeel mare Zonza, a stakes place-getter in Sydney in the Autumn, is another that may compete in races across the Tasman, should she return to early form this campaign. “Zonza is about to return to work after a short spell which she spent at her the Karaka property of her breeder/owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay, and by all reports is ready to return to the stable in first class order” said James.
The promising rising three-year-old filly Hera (O’Reilly) has bounced back from a four-week break,and will target the early three-year-old spring features, kicking off with the Fordell O’Leary Fillies Stakes at Wanganui on September 7. Hera, the winner of the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes (1400m) earlier this season will go then go on to the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings a fortnight later.
Joining the James team to further bolster the stables assault on the spring season spoils, are noted performers C’est Magnifique (Pentire) who will be aimed at the Counties and Avondale Cups, Future King, Bellazeel, Jacks Run, Artemis, Misstrum, Divine Star, Kashmir, Late Decision, Emjay, Duchessofcambridge, The Tidy Express, Royal Tiger and Alessandra.
“I’ve got a lovely team of rising three-year-olds that have shown me above average ability here at home and at the trials, and I really think this is the best team I’ve gone into any season with” said James. “Interestingly, they’ll be represented by over 25 different leading sires including the likes of Fastnet Rock, Zabeel and Encosta De Lago. It’s a very exciting team full of depth and I couldn’t be more encouraged with the team around me” James said.