Concert Hall inspires confidence
Roger James has every confidence Concert Hall will stay 3200 metres in Sydney this autumn, as the six-year-old mare prepares for the Group 2 Chairman's Quality on Saturday, ahead of the Group 1 Sydney Cup a week later.
Concert Hall, winner of the Group 1 Zabeel Classic over 2000 metres on Boxing Day and 1000.00 to win the Sydney Cup, arrived in Sydney on Monday.
She has raced beyond 2100 metres on three occasions in her 25-start career, all last season, in which she won the Group 3 Manawatu Cup and finished unplaced in the Group 3 City of Auckland Cup and the Group 2 Avondale Cup, her final run of the season.
"I've always thought she would get two miles. It was always one of the options for her", said James, who trains in partnership with Robert Wellwood.
"She's been going so well at middle distances that I haven't had to run her at longer distances. But she's in the Sydney Cup with 53 kilograms so it's a great opportunity for her."
Concert Hall had originally been targeted at the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and Tancred Stakes, but her campaign was set back when she escaped at the starting gates in the Group 3 Taranaki Cup on February 6th.
She has been playing catch-up since, finishing sixth in both the Lisa Chittick Plate on February 27th and the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes on March 13th, but she is in fine fettle now after working brilliantly with regular jockey Vinnie Colgan on Sunday.
"We just had to step back, show patience and look at the situation and let her find her feet again after New Plymouth," James added. "I thought her work was superb at the weekend. It was as nice a staying work as you could wish for."
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