James rests up as trio fire for Flemington
He's Remarkable, Silent Achiever and Full Of Spirit each goes into their Flemington feature-race assignments tomorrow in perfect condition, says Cambridge trainer Roger James.
But the master trainer can't say the same for himself.
James has spent nearly a week in hospital after contracting giardia which had led to concerns with his heart.
In November 2008, James suffered a heart attack and he admitted yesterday he was worried when he fell sick in Melbourne soon after Silent Achiever's win in the Gr II Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday week.
''I felt crook in Melbourne and I didn't feel that flash when I came home, so last Friday I went to the doctor and my blood [tests] indicated it there was something going on with my heart. It was all panic stations there for a while,'' James said yesterday.
Further tests indicated James had contracted giardia.
''It's like a third-world thing you get from drinking dirty water,'' James said.
''That's what had caused the bug I had and that had tickled up my heart. But I did have an angiogram afterwards and all my arteries and blood vessels are perfect, which is good.
''It has left me pretty washed out though. But I'm still trying to gear myself up to get on a plane in the morning.''
James went into hospital last Friday and was released on Wednesday but has kept close tabs on his horses throughout his ordeal, especially his Flemington trio.
He's Remarkable, third to Shez Sinsational in the Gr I Spring Classic (2040m) at Hastings last month, shoots for back-to-back wins at Flemington on Emirates Stakes day, having won on the undercard last year after he was balloted out of the A$1 million 1600m feature.
He has comfortably made the field this year but gets in just 1kg less than last-start Gr I Epsom Handicap winner Fat Al and starts from barrier 14.
''I was just gutted when I saw his draw,'' James said.
''Even at the beginning of the spring this was the race on my mind. I know I had a go at Hastings but the handicap conditions are more suitable for him and he loves that big Flemington track.
''The only time I got to the track, because I was feeling so terrible, was last Friday. He had a decent hitout and it would be probably 18 months since I've seen him work like he did. It was just stunning work and evidently he followed it up with similar work on Tuesday.''
A $12 sixth favourite for the Emirates, He's Remarkable flew to Melbourne on Wednesday but James' pressing concern was more with the trip he would get tomorrow.
''I thought he would possie up just behind than midfield but from that draw [jockey Glen] Boss is going to have to be a master to do that without covering ground.''
James said he was advised He's Remarkable would get about 53kg for the Emirates and he couldn't work out why the variance was so great after the Pentire five-year-old stallion was alloted 57kg.
However, despite the dissatisfaction with the weight and the disappointment of the wide draw, James said He's Remarkable could still win.
''If he gets the breaks, I think he can,'' James said.
Classy mares Silent Achiever and Full Of Spirit give James a strong hand in the Gr II A$300,000 Matriarch Stakes (2000m), for which a field of 10 was paid up.
Silent Achiever opened a $1.75 favourite with Australia's TAB Sportsbet, with Full Of Spirit the $13 fifth favourite.
James said he expected both mares to go well but was clearly favouring this year's New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever after her slashing last-start win at Moonee Valley.
''This was the race I took Silent Achiever for and what we got last week was a bonus really. I think she's far better placed this time than she was last time,'' James said.
''Her win last time was a defining moment in her career in that it's opened up so many doors for her future. When I'm planning a campaign for her in the future I won't be frightened to have a go at a better shorter-distance race and it proved to me she's going to be competitive at weight-for-age.
''But this is a race that should really suit her. She took a few days to come through that race but by all accounts, she's on absolutely top of her game. Mark [Humphries, travelling foreman] was thrilled with her work on Tuesday and so was James [McDonald, jockey]."
While James expected Silent Achiever to lead Full Of Spirit home, he still expected this year's Gr III Adrian Knox Stakes winner to be competitive after she found the line well in last Saturday's Gr I Myer Classic (1600m) when finishing just three lengths from the winner Appearance, albeit in ninth place.
''Her best work was late and it looks like the 2000m this weekend will really suit her,'' James said.
''To be fair on her, she's been drawn in the outside one or two in all three of her starts this time in.
''We'd planned to possie up midfield and had she been midfield and come out and been flat for a while then wound up like she did, she would have got some of it. Her draw has cost us dearly.
''With a draw this time, she can possie up a bit closer to the pace. Her runs, other than Caulfield where I don't believe she got around the track, her other runs haven't been bad at all. With a better draw I can see her getting some of the money as well.''