Roger James’ attention has swung from one potential black-type performer to a proven Group race winner as the Karaka Million meeting draws near.
The Cambridge trainer will saddle up the game filly Hera in the $100,000 NZ Bloodstock Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie on Sunday, confident she will again give it her best shot at earning further black type.
Meanwhile, yesterday he was given further reason to believe he has another black-type star in the wings after watching Bhiwani charge to victory in the Greene Brothers Maiden 1400.
Ridden by Matt Cameron, Bhiwani raced away over the final stages to beat the promising Paco Kid by a length, while there was a gap of more than five lengths to the third horse.
Bhiwani was having her third start and James had hoped she would win second-up at Matamata last month to earn a crack at Saturday’s Gr. 3 Tiger Prawn Desert Gold Stakes at Trentham, but instead she finished third to Zanotti.
“She’s up to a stakes race and the only problem is finding a suitable one,” said James.
A daughter of Alamosa, Bhiwani is from the good racemare and prolific broodmare Vedodara, whose wins from John Sargent’s stable included the 1994 Magic Millions at Trentham and the Hawke’s Bay Guineas.
While Bhiwani looks very promising she has a way to go to match the deeds of Hera, who is proving a fine moneyspinner for her Wellington owners Ron and Fran Dixon.
A daughter of O’Reilly, Hera has won four of her nine starts, including the Listed Graeme Thomson Jewellers Great Northern Foal Stakes at Ellerslie last May and the Gr. 2 Eight Carat Classic on the course on Boxing Day.
She was a determined winner over the Gr. 1 NZ Bloodstock 1000 Guineas winner Costa Viva last start and James purposely bypassed the Gr. 2 NZ Bloodstock Royal Stakes on New Year’s Day with her.
“I just wanted to wait for this one so I could maybe get one more out of her,” he said. “If she goes well on Sunday and comes through it, she’ll run in the Sir Tristram Fillies Classic at Te Rapa.”
Hera will be ridden by former Cambridge apprentice James McDonald, who is making a special trip back for the Karaka Millions meeting.
- Cambridge JC