London Banker will be out to continue his winning streak at Tauranga on Saturday when he lines-up in the J Swap Contractors Bay Of Plenty Cup (2100m).
The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained four-year-old has won his last two starts and his connections are hoping he can add another to his tally this weekend. “He has done nothing wrong of late and his work has been very good,” James said. “He impressed when he won last start, but it is a solid field he is meeting.”
The son of Tavistock has recorded two of his three wins over Saturday’s 2100m distance and James has been impressed with the way he has improved this preparation. “He has been a frail horse up until the last three months and I am still feeling my way with him still,” he said. “I have no doubt he will be a better horse next preparation.”
With a pleasing result on Saturday London Banker could book his first tilt at black-type racing. “If we get through Saturday okay I would probably look at the Hawke’s Bay Cup (Listed, 2200m) with him.”
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works with the stable’s Australian ambitions this autumn, however, two stable runners are still set to cross the Tasman. “Two Illicit is still on track for the Vinery (Group 1, 2000m). She has come through the (New Zealand) Derby (Group 1, 2400m) tremendously well. She has thrived since and is in wonderful order. “I have also got Hasstobegood going to Melbourne and she will race in the Bendigo Guineas (Listed, 1400m) next Saturday.”
Sherrif was originally earmarked to head to Australia as well, however, the decision has been made to keep him home and target him towards Group 2 City Of Palmerston North Awapuni Gold Cup (2000m) next week. “Sherrif is not going over now, it just got a bit difficult,” James said. “He will probably go to Awapuni next week.”
Sherrif will likely be joined by Group 1 performer Rondinella who pleased James with her last start sixth-placing in the Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie. “She ran the quickest 600m of her life in the New Zealand Stakes, but trying to chase down a Telegraph winner (Avantage) that was able to sprint in front and run 32 and a bit was too tough. “We ran 33 and a fraction ourselves. Initially I was a bit disappointed, but I just think it was a torridly run race and she did make up a bit of ground. But some easing in the track wouldn’t hurt her either. “She may go to Awapuni as well.”