From the Commentary Box – Monday, 23rd November 2015

Roger James signalled his team is ready to fire after last weekend’s racing

The highly successful trainer got a four win haul, picking up a double at both Avondale and Te Rapa. James produced Never In Doubt and Tavy to win at Avondale on Saturday while Cool Tart and Howland saluted at the Cambridge Jockey Club meeting at Te Rapa on Sunday.

Never In Doubt got the ball rolling when winning her maiden over 1600m. The lightly raced Elusive City mare scored comfortably for Craig Grylls when leading home a Cambridge trained trifecta. There looks a lot more wins in store for her judging by this win.

Likewise for her stablemate Tavy. The talented mare returned to the Winner’s Circle, with a barn storming victory over 1400m. After settling back near the tail of the field, Tavy produced an electrifying burst to quickly cruise past her nearest rivals, Thee Auld Floozie and Increditable Hulk. Again it was a Cambridge trained trifecta. Trainer Roger James was thrilled with the winning effort. “She didn’t surprise me in the slightest how she won today because she’s always been a very talented mare” said James. James explained a series of wide draws has plagued Tavy’s latest campaign. “I’ve scratched her because of wide draws and out of sheer frustration I lined her up at Ellerslie last start even though she drew wide” said James. Tavy looks set for a profitable time over the next few months.

On Sunday, James produced a couple of promising maiden gallopers. Cool Tart justified her odds on favouritism for a resounding victory over 1600m. Whilst not as decisive as Cool Tart, stablemate Howland caught the eye when holding on for a strong win also over 1600m. Both are lightly raced and look to have bright futures.

Also successful at Avondale on Saturday were Big Dreamer for Paul Mirabelli and
Nomisma for Tony Pike. Big Dreamer upset the favourites when winning at 32 to 1 while Nomisma was well supported when winning the last race on the card. Although unable to nab one of the four black type feature races on the card, Cambridge horses went close with the Tim and Margaret Carter trained Farm Boy narrowly beaten by Vavasour in the Counties Cup.

Promising two year old Manolo Blahniq, trained by Craig Thornton, went down narrowly on debut behind The Soultaker in the Murdoch Newell Stakes, while Kelly O’Reilly was a game third in the Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes.

At Te Rapa on Sunday, the locals made their presence felt for the Cambridge Jockey Club meeting, winning five of the nine races. As already discussed Roger James got a double with Cool Tart and Howland.

Joining them were Natural Achiever, Trojan Warrior and Shot In The Dark. Natural Achiever bolted in on debut for the Busuttin / Young stable and looks to have a very promising future.

Trojan Warrior came from last on the turn to win nicely for Anne Herbert while Shot In The Dark scored a tough win for the Baker / Forsman team in the last race.

Finally, congratulations to all the local consignors at last week’s hugely successful NZB
Ready To Run Sale.

Special mention must be made of Jeremy Whales’ Diamond Lodge who was again the leading vendor on aggregate and also to Bruce and Maureen Harvey’s Ascot Farm who sold the sale topper, an O’Reilly gelding for a record $525,000.

I look forward to the shout !!

I’ll catch you next week.