Roger James knew it was time for action when the catalogues arrived for the National Yearling Sale series but he had no buying orders.
For a trainer with an enviable record – 28 Group One victories including five Derby winners among more than 1,000 wins across New Zealand and Australia says it all – he found it hard to accept that his services weren’t being sought.
But rather than feeling sorry for himself, James got on the front foot and launched an initiative to source horses by a means he had never previously been involved in – syndication.
Red Diamond Racing – an obvious reference to James’s Kingsclere Stable colours – is a syndication concept comprising five horses selected and signed for by James at last week’s National Yearling Sales. The Red Diamond Derby Syndicate will race an O’Reilly colt from Swan Lake and a Cape Blanco colt from Feelin’ Pretty, both of which have definite classic credentials.
The O’Reilly colt, who made $115,000, is by the same sire as James’s 2012 New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever from a half-sister to Hades, who James prepared to win the Ellerslie classic in 1999.
The $190,000 Cape Blanco is a first crop representative of a son of Galileo whose five Group One wins included the Irish Derby, while on his distaff side his dam is a half-sister to the ATC Derby winner Headturner.
A second Red Diamond Syndicate consists of three Karaka yearlings with a range of pedigree and conformational diversity and price. The most expensive at $160,000 was the O’Reilly colt from Promenade, a half-sister by Savabeel to the New Zealand Oaks and Kelt Capital Stakes winner Legs. Other big winners in this highly successful Waikato Stud family are O’Reilly’s West Australian Derby winner Guyno and the James-trained Group winners Sixty Seconds and Spottswoode.
The $105,000 filly bred on a potent Stravinsky-Zabeel cross is closely related to champion galloper Might And Power, four-time Group One winner Mosheen and star Hong Kong performer Lucky Owners.
At just $23,000, the third candidate is a colt by popular first crop sire and Horse of the Year Jimmy Choux and also from a Zabeel mare, this from the family of Group One-winning sprinters Recurring and Lady Madonna.
“I had a budget to work to and I’m very happy with the horses I bought,” says James. “It was a decision I realised I had to make to bring some quality horses into the stable and enable a number of shareholders to come on board.
“Racing is a game of chance and this way, hitting a niche market, people will have a multiple chance of success.”
Complementing James’s selection and training skills is authorised syndicator Brent Cooper, to whom the Cambridge trainer will leave much of the marketing and ongoing communication once the syndicates are signed and sealed.
“I know my forte, it’s training, setting goals and doing my utmost to achieve them,” says James. “I’m looking forward to having Brent on board; that will enable me to concentrate on my job while he takes care of the other important functions of the syndicates.”
Auckland Racing Club director Cooper has gained huge respect in recent years as the manager of the club’s very successful Winners Circle Syndicate. The challenges of 100 shareholders in the budget syndicate have been many, but have been well rewarded with the excitement of racing stakes performers Masquerade and Pinzaara amongst several syndicate winners.
With that experience behind him, Cooper has branched out into the wider syndication field with his company Hot Ice Marketing Ltd, managing New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s Social Racing model as well as joining forces with Red Diamond Racing.
“It’s a very exciting challenge which will broaden my base and enable me to be an integral part of Roger’s first foray into public syndication,” says Cooper. “He has a well-earned reputation with his record in big races throughout Australasia and the horse sourced from Karaka.
“Roger has done a lot of work in selecting these yearlings and I believe he has bought well for what will be a fantastic starting point for our new working relationship.”
- DENNIS RYAN, The Informant