James to ponder Hera’s future

Roger James won’t be rushed into making a decision on Hera’s immediate future after the O’Reilly filly’s win in the Listed Great Northern Foal Stakes at Ellerslie. The WS-bred and sold two-year-old has enjoyed a lucrative first campaign with two wins and three placings from her five appearances.

“I’m not certain yet, but there are a couple of other black type options,” the Cambridge trainer said. “I’d probably tend to think I’ll put her out, but that won’t be a decision I’ll be making today.” The Listed Castletown Stakes at Wanganui next Saturday and the Listed Levin Ryder Stakes at Otaki on July 27 are two possibilities, should James be tempted to press on with Hera after her latest success.

A $28,000 Karaka purchase for James from WS’s Select Sale draft last year, Hera settled in behind the pace and was left in front on the bend when the leader gave way. She kicked clear and comfortably held runner-up Devour at bay. “I thought it was a very good effort and the big danger we identified before the race came at her in the straight and at the line she was holding her,” James said.

Hera was ridden by Matt Cameron and he said he had few worries during the race and the filly had coped well with the heavy going. “She got through the ground and she’s got a heart. She went to sleep and travelled sweetly and from the top of the straight nothing took me into it and she had to do it on her own. Once the other horse came at her she just kicked again.”

Raced by long-time stable clients Ron and Fran Dixon, Hera is out of the Centaine mare Corsica, who is a three-quarter sister to the dam of Australian stakes winner and Group performer Marquardt. It is also the Group One family of former champion juvenile Ballroom Babe (Ellerslie, Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes) and Dandy Andy (Australian Cup, Doomben Cup).

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