Exciting times for Ocean Park’s half-sister

Cambridge trainer Roger James was even more relieved than excited after Ocean Park’s half-sister Lady Sayyida broke through for a maiden win at Te Teko yesterday.

Lady Sayyida was under a lot of pressure, considering the deeds of her Cox Plate-winning half-brother, and after a debut third at Gisborne last September she was a warm favourite to win the Pro-tec Roofing Whakatane Ltd 3YO at the Whakatane Racing Club meeting.

She was backed into $2.40 for a win and that added to the pressure James was feeling as he legged Matt Cameron on to the Iffraaj filly. And midway through the race that pressure wasn’t letting up as Lady Sayyida was back and looking to be dipping and diving on the slow track.

But when Cameron got Lady Sayyida balanced up wide out and started to ask her for an effort, James’ look of worry turned to delight. Lady Sayyida stormed home wideout to claim Keepit and River City to win by a length and a quarter.

“That’s a huge relief,” said James. “She has shown very little on the (training) track and she certainly didn’t deserve to be a two dollar favourite. But she’s done the job well and looks very promising.”

Lady Sayyida was bought for $290,000 at the National Yearling Sales at Karaka by James on behalf of Rod Baulcomb and John and Di Struthers, who shared in the ownership of James’ smart galloper He’s Remarkable.

James knows Lady Sayyida’s family very well, having trained her dam, Sayyida, a daughter of Zabeel who won two of her five starts but broke down when eighth in the 2003 Avondale Guineas.

“Sayyida had the makings to be anything. She was untapped,” said James. “It was such a tragedy when she broke down, but at least she was able to be saved and is now proving a top broodmare.”

James was the under-bidder on Ocean Park, who went on to win five Group One races for Gary Hennessy and is set to embark on a stud career at Waikato Stud.

James is likely to add blinkers to Lady Sayyida’s gear and is looking forward to her stepping up over ground, and so is Cameron. “She hit the line well and has got lots of improvement in her,” said Cameron.