Another rising star for James

The “plunge horse” lived right up to expectations for Cambridge trainer Roger James at Gisborne today.

Touch Win, a son of Excellent Art, made his debut in the Roseland Tavern 1200 and was backed as if unbeatable  with several big bets resulting in the horse going to the barrier paying $1.50 for a win and 10 cents less for a place.

The handsome three-year-old had attracted the support  following a five-length win in his sole trials appearance, at Avondale on September 4 when ridden by James’ former apprentice, Vinnie Colgan, who made a special trip to Gisborne to continue his association with the exciting young galloper.

James took Touch Win to Gisborne in search of reasonable footing and was surprised at the strength of the field, which included first-starters from the top racemares Ethereal  (named Duguesa), Santagostino (Siciliani)  and Uberalles (Biddable).

“He had been impressive in his trial, but that’s the only outing he’s had,” said James in a pre-race interview. “I’m just hoping he’s professional enough on raceday. This is the first time he’s had good footing and he’ll learn a lot and we’ll learn more about him.”

Colgan bounced Touch Win out and soon had him settled into the trail as Indecisive led from Dowager Princess.  And when asked to make his bid in the straight he responded well to bound to the front and comfortably hold out a solid finish from Biddable, scoring by two lengths.

“He was quite happy to come back to me and take a sit when I restrained him early,” said Colgan. “It was just a matter of the gaps coming and when to let him go. He’s pretty smart.”

Touch Win has been nominated for both the Group I Sothy’s NZ 2000 Guineas and the Group I Levin Classic and James says he will now sit down and map out a programme towards the big races. “He’s got a lot of raw ability,” said James.

Touch Win, who was bought from the Select Session of the National Yearling Sales for $170,000, had already come in for some support on the TAB Fixed Odds Betting for the 2000 Guineas and his odds crumbled further after today’s stylish win.