It might be a quieter time on the racing front for Roger James and Robert Wellwood, but there’s plenty of interest for their Cambridge stable this week.
The training partners have welcomed top mare Rondinella back into the stable, while their attention will focus on runners at Hastings on Wednesday with a few more destined for the Ellerslie meeting on Saturday.
“We don’t usually have many runners at this time of year so it’s a bit quieter time for us, but June 1 will soon come around and we’ll have quite a few coming back in from then,’’ James said.
‘’We’ve already got Rondinella back in and she’s looking good. She had four weeks off after the Sydney Cup and she had a light canter this morning (Monday) for the first time.’’
Rondinella was taken to Sydney after finishing a courageous third in Ellerslie’s Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m), in which she suffered a very rocky run. She acquitted herself well on the trip with a third in the Gr.1 Tancred Stakes (2400m) and a fourth in the Gr. 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
“She’s gone a long way this season, from a one-win horse at the start of it,’’ James said. ‘’She was knocked from pillar to post in the Ellerslie Group One and struck a quagmire in the Tancred Stakes, but still managed to run third.
‘’In the Sydney Cup she pulled and her rider (Sam Clipperton) said she never gave him a rest. To finish as close as she did was a top effort.’’
No race plans have been made for Rondinella next season, though there is no doubt she will be heading back to Australia in the spring.
‘’She’ll have a Melbourne campaign, but we’re yet to decide what races to aim for,’’ James said. ‘’We’ll just take her along quietly over winter and get her ready.’’
Meanwhile, James and Wellwood are looking forward to stepping out some youngsters at Hastings.
Amal Rose, a daughter of Written Tycoon, and Reggiewood, a son of Redwood, are acceptors for the stable in the Nufarm 2YO 1300m and Zealand (by Makfi) is set to run in the Syngenta Crop Protection 3YO 1300m.
All three are debutants with trials experience and have shown some promise with Amal Rose showing the most of the trio at the trials with thirds in both her outings.
‘’I really like her,’’ James said. ‘’She’s going to benefit from the race on Wednesday, but she might be up to winning.
‘’It would be nice getting a maiden two-year-old with her, but whatever she does it will be good for her to have a run now to get ready for the spring.
‘’She got back and got home well in both her trials and the 1300m is a bit different from 800m at the trials. It will suit her better.’’
Bought by James for A$140,000 as a yearling, Amal Rose is from a Redoute’s Choice daughter of Bramble Rose, the 2003 New Zealand Bloodstock Filly Of The Year and winner of the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
Amal Rose has drawn the ace barrier on Wednesday, while Reggiewood, whose best trials placing from three outings is a last-start third at Taupo, has drawn out and James is considering another option for him.
‘’There’s a 1400m at Ellerslie on Saturday and I might throw a nomination in there and look at that field,’’ he said, referring to the Listed Piazza DÓro Auckland Futurity Stakes.
‘’He’s more of a staying horse for next year.’’
Zealand is another who falls into the staying category and he goes into the Hastings event with a last-start trials third, also at Taupo late last month.
Killarney and Hanger will represent the James – Wellwood stable at Ellerslie on Saturday and stablemate Dream On could also be on hand after failing to threaten at Te Rapa this past weekend.
‘’Dream On got back and didn’t like the sand coming back on her so I might back her up at Ellerslie,’’ James said. ‘’She went a top race previously (for second at Pukekohe).
‘’Killarney will run in the open 1200m and I’m happy with him. He trialled well and he’s come through a lot of soundness problems.
‘’Hanger will run in the Rating 82 1400m and he just needs a bit of luck.’’ - NZ Racing Desk