Cambridge trainer Roger James took three of his NZ Oaks hopefuls to Te Teko yesterday and watched one of those fillies put her hand up for the Trentham classic.
James has five fillies nominated for the Gr.1 $300,000 Wellfield NZ Oaks at Trentham on March 19 and two of them, Cool Tart and Downton Abbey, have already shown enough to press ahead with a tilt at the feature.
Cool Tart is a winner of two races and an unlucky fifth in the Gr. 3 Lawnmaster Eulogy Stakes and Downtown Abbey may have won only once from six starts, but she was a last start second in the Gr. 2 Mongolian Khan Royal Stakes.
Jessabeel, Amazing Lady and Sure Enough are James’ other Oaks entries and the former forced her way up the list with an impressive win at Te Teko, while the other two finished fifth in their respective engagements.
Jessabeel raced away to a two and a quarter length win in the Team Wealleans 1600 and the manner in which she drew clear in the final stages boosted her Oaks’ prospects.
“I think she could be a very good filly,” said James. “The Oaks is her main aim and there is still a lot of improvement in her. She had a big blow after the race.”
Jessabeel was having her third start and she had also impressed on debut when scoring over 1400 metres at Matamata on December 16. Her only other start resulted in a seventh at Ellerslie on January 9 when she had no luck in the running.
A daughter of Zabeel from an unraced half-sister to Group One Australian performers Canny Lad and Canny Lass, Jessabeel is raced by her co-breeders Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan in partnership with four of James’ long-time clients, Rod Baulcamb, Ron Dixon, Gerard Petersen (GG Syndicate) and John Struther.
The Hogans and Jessabeel’s co-breeders, Grand Vue Lodge, put the filly through the 2014 Sydney Easter Yearling Sales and she was bought back for $A300,000 by the Sir Patrick and Lady Justine.
The Hogans lease a half racing share to their other syndicate owners, an arrangement organised by James, and now the group has a definite Oaks prospect.
Jessabeel was the third winner on the Te Teko card for Vinnie Colgan and his other two wins also came on Cambridge horses. He won the first event on Jessabeel’s stablemate Zastella and was also successful on the Tony Pike-trained Sabotage.
- Cambridge JC | Pic Race Images