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Sherrif gives James another Manawatu Classic

  • Sat, 31 Mar 2018
  • Richard Edmunds
With Leith Innes in the saddle, Sherrif completes a powerful come-from-behind win in the Manawatu Classic.

With Leith Innes in the saddle, Sherrif completes a powerful come-from-behind win in the Manawatu Classic.

The Gr. 3 Manawatu Classic has been a special race for Cambridge trainer Roger James, and today his rising star three-year-old Sherrif handed him another win in the $70,000 Higgins Concrete-sponsored feature at Awapuni.

Since 2000, James has won the late-season three-year-old feature with Spottswoode (2000), Congrats (2006), Valpolicella (2008), Lady Cumquat (2014) and now Sherrif.

Making just the third start of his career, the $2.80 favourite settled near the rear of the field and was one of the last to turn for home.

But rider Leith Innes turned him loose down the outside of the track and Sherrif bounded home with giant strides, charging past Gundown and Joe’s Legacy to win by three-quarters of a length.

“This has been a very good race to me over the years – it’s the seventh time I’ve won it,” James told www.theinformant.co.nz. “This is a promising horse and he won very well today.”

Sherrif has won two of his three starts, finishing a close second in the other, for prize-money earnings in excess of $48,000.

Bred and raced by Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who are about to take ownership of Cambridge Stud, Sherrif is by High Chaparral out of their Group One-placed mare J’Adane. James also trains Sherrif’s older half-brother Von Tunzelman, who won the Gr. 3 Trentham Stakes in January.

“J’Adane’s becoming our favourite mare in the stable at the moment,” James’s racing manager Robert Wellwood said. “We’ve a lot of fun with her progeny lately.

“This is a horse we’ve all had a lot to do with, so it’s super to get this result and it will bring a real buzz to the stable.

“This was only his third start, and he’s gone from 1400 to a mile and now 2000 metres. It was very exciting the way he did it today. He’s got a real turn of foot. He was a long way off at the corner, so he’s done a huge job to win from there.

“The decision to geld him has been his coming-of-age. This is only the start, and the sky’s the limit for him.”

Today’s impressive performance has increased the likelihood of an Australian campaign.

“We’ll get him home and let the dust settle before we make any decisions,” James said. “The two options we might look at are South Australia or Queensland, but we’ll talk to the owners and take it from there.”