Pleasing results on both sides of Tasman

Cambridge trainer Roger James (above) left Doomben racecourse last Saturday optimistic over the Group One prospects of two new rising stars in his team.

James was in Brisbane with Red Shift, a relative newcomer to his stable who was on trial for the Group I Queensland Derby when stepping out in the Group III Grand Prix Stakes, while back in New Zealand his focus was on Misstrum in the Listed N$50,000 Great Northern Foal Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie.

Both horses lived up to the hopes of James with Red Shift finishing third to fellow Kiwi-bred galloper Brambles in the Brisbane feature and Misstrum breaking her maiden status in the two-year-old event.

Red Shift was originally trained at Matamata by Regan Donnison and showed plenty of promise, resulting in his purchase by a client of the James stable. The son of Lucky Unicorn was placed in five of his first six starts then won a double and in his 10th start for Donnison he was seventh to the James-trained Silent Achiever in the Group I Telecom NZ Derby.

Red Shift’s first start from the James stable was at Te Rapa on April 28 when fifth over 2000 metres and he was put to the test next-up in last Saturday’s Grand Prix Stakes. “We brought him here for the Queensland Derby and this was a real pressure race for him,” James told the Australian media. “He not only had to secure a start but he had to show me he was up to being a Derby horse.”

Red Shift fought on well for his third placing, albeit seven and a quarter lengths behind the all-the-way impressive winner Brambles, who was ridden by Brad Rawiller for trainer Peter Moody. The winner’s stablemate , Vatuvei, was runner-up, and along with Red Shift he will again clash with Brambles in the Group I Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9.

Pleased with the way Red Shift fought on, James was even happier with the winning performance at Ellerslie of Misstrum, who was ridden to victory in the Great Northern Foal Stakes by Leith Innes.

“I’ve liked her and her first couple of runs were more for education,” said James. “She’s continued to improve and I wasn’t surprised to see her win. She could be a (Group I) 1000 Guineas filly next season. She should get 1600 metres all right, but being by Stratum she mightn’t get much further.”

Misstrum was fourth then third in her first two starts and will now be given a spell before being prepared for a three-year-old campaign. “She’ll come back to the stable for a few days then have a month or so off,” said James.

Misstrum is raced by Haunui Farm’s Mark and Sara Chitty and Ron and Carolyn Chitty along with stud clients Maureen Duncan and Cathy Franich and was originally bought by Mark Chitty as a weanling to pinhook at the Karaka Yearling Sales.

An injury interrupted Misstrum’s yearling sales preparation and she was passed in at Karaka, leaving the Chittys and other owners to now enjoy the thrill of racing a stakes-winning filly who has the potential to go further.