With the new racing season set to commence champion trainer Roger James is happy to exercise patience with some proven performers in his team, favouring long-term goals in Australia over earlier local spring spoils.
“It will be a case of patience personified in the early part of the season for a good number of my team. I have a lovely bunch of horses that are well above average and capable of footing it in Australia. My preference is to develop these horses, focus on Sydney in the autumn and go from there” James said.
James has set Romantic Maid, a winner over 2000m at Royal Randwick in May with a second Sydney assignment, and stablemates Tavy, Arundel, Jessabeel, Amazing Lady, Von Tunzelman and Killarney will join her all going to plan.
“Romantic Maid is proven in good three-year-old company in Sydney and I can see her being competitive again over 1600m – 2000m. Likewise Tavy, who has multiple black-type placings locally is up to Australian racing standard and I will bring her up later in the spring with Sydney in the autumn in mind”.
High-class filly Jessabeel is back in work at Kingslcere Stables and will progress through the grades over summer as she builds toward a trip across the Tasman. The rising four-year-old daughter of Zabeel looked very smart winning two of her three starts and was New Zealand Oaks bound before a track accident sent her to the paddock.
Also returning this week is Von Tunzelman. The striking grey a son of Zabeel and the multiple group performed mare J’Adane, impressed when winning on debut and was subsequently considered for a Sydney campaign last autumn but didn’t make the trip.
“Von Tunzelman is another classic staying type by Zabeel and I have Sydney in the autumn in mind for him as well. He has all the strength in the world and a very bright future”.
James is also pleased to include Arundel in his planned Sydney autumn assault. A rising four-year-old by Duke of Marmalade, Arundel was a winner of two trials before being unlucky at his only start.
“He’s a gorgeous horse with a great attitude and is a big old fashioned staying type. If he comes up as I expect he will definitely be a chance to join the others in Sydney, or perhaps Brisbane next winter”.
Adding further depth to the season ahead, James has Downton Abbey, Terrifique, Twinkles, Killarney, Amazing Lady, Gracehill, Cool Tart, Misty Music and Howland back in work or ready to return to the stable, and has an open mind on their respective targets for the season ahead.
“Once again patience will be exercised with many of these. The likes of Gracehill, Cool Tart and Misty Music have shown any amount of ability and time will be their friend. Downton Abbey and Amazing Lady already have black-type to their name, and I have the very exciting Killarney who is an unraced brother to Gracehill. He is a stunning horse with owners who have campaigned in Australia previously so who knows where we may end up with him”.
Meanwhile New Zealand’s richest race the $1 million Karaka Million is on the radar for at least five of James rising two-year-olds.
“I am very happy with my team of up-coming two-year-olds and at this stage have at least a handful capable of looking at the Karaka Million.
I have yet to line up a horse in the race but have twice won the earlier equivalents; the Mercedes Super Bonus Classique with Spring Rain and the Magic Millions Classic with Thriller.
At this stage I have potential runners by Jimmy Choux, Pierro, Power, Makfi and Pins whom I hope can all fulfil their potential, and I’m excited to see what level they may reach”.