Roger James is going for quality over quantity this weekend.
The Cambridge trainer has three runners, spread over two venues, but all in black type races.
Miss Foxwood is an obvious chance in the Gr.3 Rich Hill Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes at Hawera and her stablemates Delago’s Secret and The Tidy Express resume in the Listed Team Wealleans Matamata Cup.
Miss Foxwood is backing up, eight days after running second in an open 1400m when resuming at Te Rapa.
“It’s unusual for me to back them up so quickly after a first-up run,” James said. “But she’s a big, burly mare now and I don’t think it’s going to be detrimental to her chances.
“This race has been the main aim for her this spring, but the weather delayed her first-up run.
“I thought it was a huge run at Te Rapa, though she has drawn out again this week.”
Miss Foxwood will start from barrier 12 in a field of 14 but Recite, Illuminati and Irion are other prominent contenders who have drawn out.
Miss Foxwood, a Fastnet Rock mare from the Group One winner Foxwood, is a five-year-old but has had only 18 starts.
She raced in good company at three, finishing fourth in the 1000 Guineas and third in the Gr.3 Sarten Memorial.
She added another black-type placing as a four-year-old, when she finished either first or second in six of her nine starts.
“She’s a mature mare now,” James said. “She’s always been a big girl, but lacked strength till now.”
Miss Foxwood will be ridden by Vinnie Colgan on Saturday and is attempting to give James a second win in the Breeders’ Stakes, after La Sizeranne was successful in 2005.
Delago’s Secret and The Tidy Express both won first-up over 1600m last spring.
Delago’s Secret was successful in a rating 75 event at the corresponding Matamata meeting while The Tidy Express won the Carbine Trophy at Ellerslie.
“A lack of fitness won’t be an excuse for either of them,” James said. “They were both ready to run 2000m last weekend.”
Delago’s Secret, who has had five wins from 16 starts, went on to win the Gr.3 City Of Auckland Cup (2400m) last term.
He is likely to tackle the Feilding Cup on October 31 and James might then look for suitable staying opportunities for him in Australia.
James believes that The Tidy Express has finally matured, as a seven-year-old. “She’s always been weak but this is the strongest I’ve seen her,” he said.
- NZ Racing Desk | Miss Foxwood Pic Race Images