Nominations for Group 1 events at the Hawkes Bay Spring Carnival have been announced with the Roger James trained Silent Achiever (O’Reilly) topping an impressive list of local talent.
However it is Full Of Spirit (Flying Spur), another promising mare in the James camp, that is likely to contest each of the Hastings Triple Crown legs as her higher ranked stablemate is set for a Melbourne spring carnival campaign that will focus on the major cup races.
“We’ve nominated Silent Achiever mainly as a back-up in case her Melbourne campaign has to be called off for some reason,” explained James. “At this stage she won’t be seen in New Zealand this spring as we will kick her campaign off in Melbourne in about five weeks time.
“She will travel straight to Melbourne once we have her programme mapped out but I’m leaning toward starting her at Caulfield in the last week of August or at Flemington the following week.
“We do have high hopes for Full Of Spirit though as she was competitive in Melbourne last spring and we have decided to concentrate her on Hastings this year as opposed to heading back across the Tasman.”
James is also hopeful that Full Of Spirit can avoid some of the bad luck she experienced in her last preparation. “She just didn’t get any luck in a number of her races so I hope she can get some better fortune this time in,” said James. “She has been back in work for a couple of months now and has progressed nicely to date so I’m happy with her.
“She will go into the Makfi Challenge Stakes fresh although I will probably give her an exhibition gallop somewhere before then.”
James is also pleased with the crop of young horses he has in the stable as he prepares for the new season. “I’ve got some really nice rising two and three-year-olds,” he said. “It makes it a whole lot easier to get up on those cold winter mornings when you see the talent that is waiting for you.”