A promising black type-winning juvenile from last season is nearing an overdue return to racing.
The O’Reilly filly Hera has required a patient approach as a three-year-old and is closing in on a return to racing for Roger James, who has had mixed fortunes at the Melbourne spring carnival.
Zonza was an impressive winner of last week’s Gr.3 Snowhite Classic while stablemate Silent Achiever felt the hard track when unplaced and galloped on in the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup.
The news is encouraging on the home front though with the talented Hera, who finished third on debut last term behind the subsequent Gr.3 Eclipse Stakes winner Gobi Ranger and then posted placings at New Plymouth and Avondale.
James made a return visit to the Taranaki track where Hera successfully resumed in the autumn and she made her final appearance when triumphant in the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes.
“She didn’t do too well early in the early spring so I put her out again,” he said. “We’ll be looking at the good Christmas racing with her.”
Hera is raced by long-time stable clients Ron and Fran Dixon, also part-owners of exciting stablemate Royal Tiger who is unbeaten in two starts to date.
A former president of the Wellington Racing Club, Dixon has enjoyed outstanding success with James with the likes of Tethys, Cronus, Hades, Skoozi and Kaatoon all feature race winners.
Tethys’ eight wins included the 1993 Avondale Cup, then a Group One event, while Cronus was a high-class son of Zabeel who won the Gr.1 Adelaide Cup and earned more than $1 million.
Hades won the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby in 1999 and was third in the Gr.1 Australian Guineas before his sale to Hong Kong interests where he was a multiple Group One placegetter.
Skoozi was another high-class Group One performer while Kaatoon won the Gr.2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic and the Gr.3 Lowland Stakes.
– NZ Racing Desk 22/10/2013