James justified in delaying Colgan’s departure

Cambridge trainer Roger James showed his former top apprentice Vinnie Colgan at Te Rapa yesterday just why he wanted him to delay his return to Queensland.

James engaged Colgan for Delago’s Secret in the Clubhouse Sports Bar Premier (2000m) and watched on as the talented hoop led home a stable quinella when beating Full Count.

After enjoying some success in Brisbane, Colgan answered the call-up from Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan to return to New Zealand to ride Durham Town in Te Rapa’s Gr. 1 NRM Sprint on February 8. Realising Colgan was heading back James snapped him up for his smart filly Hera in the Gr. 2 Cambridge Stud Sir Tristram Fillies Classic the same day.

Though Durham Town had to settle for sixth, Hera was successful in the filies’ feature to become the second winner on the day for the Colgan – James combination which enjoyed success in the opener with Delago’s Secret.

As Colgan said, he had packed just enough clothes to stay a few days. But such has been the demand for his services he has kept extending his departure date.

A Group One win in the Lindauer NZ Stakes on the James-trained Silent Achiever has been the highlight of his trip, which has yielded 16 wins, including two stakes races.

Colgan is finally booked to return to Queensland on Wednesday and he is heading off with the knowledge he has some good Kiwi horses to ride in Brisbane this winter. One of those horses is likely to be Delago’s Secret.

James is considering taking Delago’s Secret and runner-up Full Count to Australia for the Gr. 1 Queensland Derby and both horses certainly stood up for their places on the plane.

Delago’s Secret finished strongly to overhaul a courageous Full Count in the final stages to score by a short neck while Orion, from Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s stable, completed a Cambridge trifecta.

Colgan has been aboard Delago’s Secret in each of his last four starts and was impressed with his performance yesterday with a view to the big three-year-old races in Brisbane.

“I did like the way he dropped the bit and relaxed lovely,” said Colgan. “He trucked into it nicely when I asked him and he won well. He’s definitely a chance in the Derby.”

James was thrilled with the result and was as complimentary to the runner-up as the winner.

“The second horse had to do a lot of work and swap the draws and you might have swapped the result,” said James. “I’ll see how they both come through the race but it is more than likely they will be part of the team I take over to Brisbane.”

James is considering five horses for his Queensland squad, including Miss Foxwood and Lady Cumquat. The other horses under consideration is Kate’s Cove, who won impressively at Avondale last Friday, though she might instead head to Sydney or Melbourne.

Colgan marked the Cambridge Jockey Club fixture with two wins, preceding Delago’s Secret’s win when taking the Presland Tocker Insurance Open 1600 on the Richard Collett and Gareth McRae-trained Shandream.