Cambridge trainer Roger James had plenty to smile about after almost making a clean sweep of the finish of the NRM 1600 at Pukekohe yesterday.
James lined up three starters in the maiden highweight and watched Pythagoras and Hoof Hustler provide the quinella, while his other runner, Momus, finished well for fourth, three lengths from the winner. Splitting the stablemates in third placing was the Ralph Manning-trained Into The Mystic.
Pythagoras was installed favourite on the strength of a lead-up second when beaten a mere head by Whopper’s over the same course and distance earlier in the month and James, like punters, was expecting the win.
“I’m surprised he’s still a maiden” said James pre-race. “He could break maidens and go on with it.
“He possibly got there (to the leader) a bit soon last time. Troy (Harris) has just got to time his run on him.”
Harris settled Pythagoras in the last few and improved him around the field nearing the home turn. Pythagoras then accelerated to quickly grab the leaders and hit the front with 100 metres to run, again getting there sooner than Harris and James expected.
Hoof Hustler then made the finish exciting when unleashing a strong late run to get to a half-head from Pythagoras at the finish.
A four-year-old son of Pentire, Pythagoras has been placed in two of his previous five starts and was sixth in his sole staying test last campaign. He now looks ready to step up in trip again.
James expects more distance than yesterday’s metric mile to suit both Hoof Hustler (by Shamoline Warrior) and Momus (by O’Reilly). Both were having their second starts.
“They’re two stayers in the making,” said James. “They’re going to be better when they go further.” – Cambridge JC