~~Saturday’s Gr II Sir Tristram Fillies Classic winner Hera has been sold to Australian interests.
The Roger James-trained O’Reilly filly was sold to Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell and Jamie Lovett in a deal negotiated by Cambridge bloodstock agent Michael Wallace.
Hera will join Sydney trainer Kris Lees, though it has not yet been decided whether she will remain with James till the end of her three-year-old season or head across the Tasman sooner.
James yesterday said he had made a case to the new owners that Hera spell in New Zealand and then be set for the Gr I Queensland Oaks (2400m) rather than having the extra trip to Sydney thrown into the equation.
”They were certainly receptive to the idea,” James said yesterday.
”Why not spell her here where she knows the environment and then have one quick trip across to Brisbane rather flying to Sydney and then floating to Newcastle now and then having a long float to Brisbane later on?
”I pointed out to the owners that I’d won the Doomben Roses and the Queensland Oaks before and they’re going to consider the option. I think it’s the best thing for the filly too.”
Under James’s guidance, Hera won five of her 11 starts, two of them at Gr II level. She also won the Gr II Eight Carat Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on Boxing Day, beating home Group winners Costa Viva, Rising Romance, Recite and Whistling Dixie, as well as promising filly Procurement.
”I’ll be gutted to lose her,” James said.
”The form around her is excellent and her last start proved James McDonald’s assessment of her was spot on. He really raved about her the night he rode her.”
Wallace said there was a chance that Hera could have a Sydney autumn campaign under Lees before heading to Brisbane for the winter carnival there.
He said he had followed Hera’s career closely and had been able to negotiate a deal with Wellington owners Ron and Fran Dixon before Saturday’s race and completed terms since.
”She’s shown a lot of courage in her races. She’s been very game and she’s won two legs of the filly of the year series,” Wallace said.
”Roger’s done a fantastic job with her. She’s a dual Gr II winner by O’Reilly, who is a fantastic broodmare sire, so she had plenty going for her.
”It’s nice to acquire fillies like that. They are hard to find but they are invaluable going forward.”