Patience has been the key with the three winners Cambridge trainer Roger James has unleashed in the last few days.
Monrecour completed a double and took her record to three wins from 10 starts when winning for James at Wednesday’s Ellerslie twilight meeting and stablemates Boomerang and St Andre carried on the stable’s winning way when clearing maiden ranks at Tauranga today.
Like Monrecour, Boomerang is a lightly tried four-year-old, while St Andre is a three-year-old who didn’t appear at the trials until last June (when winning at Avondale) and didn’t make his raceday debut until last month.
Boomerang has been taken along particularly quietly by James. He had his first couple of trials late last year and ran second in his debut over 1400 metres at New Plymouth last December before being given just one more start last campaign, when fourth over 1600 at Te Teko a month later.
It wasn’t until last month that Boomerang reappeared on the scene, when third in a trial at Cambridge, and he was fresh-up when he went into today’s St Patrick’s Day Races 1400 at Tauranga.
“He’s shown me well above average ability for a long time,” said James. “He’s a big boy and he’s a traditional old-fashioned New Zealand stayer and I’ve had to wait.
“They don’t lose their ability but get better and stronger if you wait for them.”
Owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay have heeded James’ advice with Boomerang and they look certain to be rewarded by the son of O’Reilly.
Boomerang settled midfield on the inner in today’s assignment and rider Leith Innes angled him off the fence across the top and had him out into the clear on the home turn.
It was then a case of Boomerang letting down with his finish and he didn’t disappoint. He ranged up to the leaders inside the final 200 metres and finished off strongly to score by a short neck from Master Painton.
“It was a good effort because he’s not brilliant out of the gat and the 1400 was a bit short for him,” said Innes. “He got to the front and gawked around a bit. Once he gets up in distance you’ll see a pretty good horse.”
In the same event Boomerang’s stablemate The Magnate had little luck when finishing fourth and showed he isn’t far off a win. Whereas Boomerang had a clear run in the home straight, The Magnate was searching for a gap for much of the final 300 metres.
Michael Coleman getting the best out of the lightly tried St Andre to beat Mark Two at Tauranga today.
Like Boomerang, St Andre also did things wrong when he quit maiden ranks today, but to be fair it was just his third start and his first time in blinkers.
Rider Michael Coleman had him in the early rush for the lead in the Kiwi Bus Builders 1600 then allowed him to ease and track the leader before moving up to challenge rounding the home turn.
He hit the lead soon after then, through greenness, was headed by Mark Two and fought back gamely to win by a mere nose.
The Stephen Marsh-trained Mark Two was second with Sacred Party, prepared by Tony Pike, and Luxe (Emma-Lee and David Browne) filling the next two spots to make it a complete sweep for Cambridge stables.
“He needed the blinkers,” said James. “He’s still green. I noticed in the tough battle he would prick his ears and is not totally committed yet. He’ll make a nice horse.”
A gelding by Echoes Of Heaven from the useful Volksraad mare Isla Bella (three wins), St Andre preceded the win with a debut fifth behind the talented Seduttore over 1200 at Avondale and a fourth to the promising Iffindoubt over 1400 on that same track.
Monrecour is obviously the more experienced of James’ three winners and has been in the first four in all bar one of her 10 starts, but her record could be even better.
“The rub of the green hasn’t always gone her way,” said James. “I think she’s an emerging mare and we’ve had to wait for her, but from here on in the owners could get better rewards.”
Monrecour is a Zacinto mare from Udiditagain, who won three races including the Listed Champagne Stakes at Wingatui, and was runner-up in the Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes at Trentham.
Unlike her dam, Monrecour didn’t race as two-year-old. She made her debut last January at Tauranga as a summer three-year-old and it was a winning one over 1300 metres.
Her connections then had to almost 11 months for Monrecour’s second win, at Pukekohe late last month, and had to be content with the string of minor placings. But the manner of her Pukekohe win and the victory at Ellerslie on Wednesday evening suggested they will have more celebrations ahead.
She was ridden a treat by Vinnie Colgan when winning at Pukekohe and it was a similar performance from visiting Australian apprentice Ben Allen at Ellerslie.
Allen bounced her out first, eased her into the trail, angled her out on the turn and had her challenging with 200 metres to run. It was then up to Monrecour and she kicked clear to win attractively by a length and three-quarters.
James also produced another couple of promising gallopers at the Ellerslie twilight meeting.
Rondinella, an Ocean Park half-sister to the multiple Group winner Vavasour and recent Perth stakeswinner Celebrity Dream, was impressive when charging home down the outside for third behind Lily The Pink on debut in the juvenile race, while Arundel fought well for third in the final event.
James will be hoping his luck holds with his two runners over the weekend, Misty Music in the fifth event at Te Rapa tomorrow and Doubtless Bay in the third race at Ellerslie on Sunday.
- Cambridge JC | Pic Race Images