Roger James is favouring Ellerslie as the venue for the next appearance of his smart debut winner Monrecour.
The Cambridge trainer has accepted for Wednesday’s NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race at Avondale, but Sunday is his preferred option.
“I’ve nominated her for the special conditions 1400 and that’s where she’ll go if she gets in,” James said.
Monrecour caught James off guard when she was successful at the Te Aroha trials last month before she repeated the dose on race day at Tauranga.
“She surprised me in her trial because she hadn’t showed anything out of the ordinary, but her trial was the quickest of the day including Xtravagant,” he said.
If Monrecour bypasses Avondale, I Am Gracie will firm in favour as the race will represent a major step back in class for the filly.
She was third behind the highly-regarded Romancer in the Listed Mufhasa Stakes two runs back before she finished less than six lengths off the unbeaten Volpe Veloce when eighth in the Gr.2 Eight Carat Classic.
Meanwhile, James is expecting improvement from Pythagoras when he steps out in Wednesday’s AJC Members’ Maiden.
“He was a bit disappointing in his first run, but in saying that he blew the start and was 12 lengths off them at the 600 and finished a bit over four lengths from them at the finish,” James said. “His work had been above average before that.”
- NZ Racing Desk | Pic Trish Dunell