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James comes out on top

Lot 725, the Churchill filly, was purchased by Cambridge trainer Roger James for $200,000. Photo: Trish Dunell



Cambridge trainer Roger James has experienced a frustrating last few days at Karaka, so he was delighted to get the filly he wanted in the Book 2 session of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale on Wednesday.


He was underbidder on a number of the top lots in Book 1 and admitted it was a challenging experience.


“I added it up this morning and we were underbidder on lots that brought $1.85 million, so I wasn’t a happy chappy last night,” he said.


While despondent about missing out on a number of his desired lots, he headed to Karaka on Wednesday adamant that he would not be outdone yet again.


Co-trainer Robert Wellwood had identified lot 725, the Churchill filly, out of Berkley Stud’s draft this morning, and James was duly impressed with her upon inspecting the filly himself.


“She is a star filly,” he said after going to a session topping $200,000 for the filly.


“I haven’t got an owner for her yet, but that is the next job, trying to find one.


“She has got everything. She is by a great racehorse and she has got the ability to be a Karaka Million horse.


“I only saw her this morning. Robert stayed up last night and he did the shortlist.


“I didn’t think I would have to pay that money for her, but I had the bit between my teeth and fillies like that are quite rare.”


The filly was the only yearling in the Book 2 session by her sire and James said he was one of the reasons he was drawn to her.


“I followed his (Churchill) whole career,” James said.


“He was a very fast horse for a Galileo. People normally associate Galileos with a bit of time, but he was a great two and three-year-old and he held a world ranking at some stage.


“They don’t get that without being pretty special.”


The filly topped day one of the Book two session and Berkley Stud’s Edwina Morris and Alan Jones were delighted with the result after purchasing her dam for A$50,000.


“The mare was one of two we bought in Melbourne,” they said.


“She was in foal to Churchill and we liked his chances too, being a fast son of Galileo.”


The filly had proven popular at the Karaka sales complex and Jones and Morris thought they were going to be able to recoup their initial outlay for the mare.


“There was huge interest in the filly,” they said. “She is going to be bigger than her mother. Her x-rays and scope were excellent.


“We thought she’d make $50,000 to $60,000. She has gone to a great stable, so we are delighted.”