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Kiwi mare lands Sydney Cup

Etah James winning the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) from The Chosen One. Photo: Bradleyphotos.com.au
Etah James winning the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) from The Chosen One. Photo: Bradleyphotos.com.au

Jockey Glen Boss considered her his best long-shot ride in a Group One race and Kiwi mare Etah James (NZ) (Raise The Flag) has proven him right, upsetting her more fancied rivals to win the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick.

Making her debut for co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, the well-travelled mare has spent most of her career in Victoria with Matt Cumani before a brief stint with part-owner and New Zealand trainer Mark Lupton.

Transferred for a Sydney Cup campaign, Etah James has proven the superior stayer in Saturday's stamina-testing edition of the 3200m race.

The victory gave Boss back-to-back Group One wins after he took out the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Colette (Hallowed Crown) and while he feared English visitor and favourite Young Rascal (Intello), he had genuine confidence in Etah James.

"I've been riding her in work and I trialled her here in a very fast trial and I said, 'this is just flying this thing'," Boss said.

"Its work on Tuesday was exceptional actually and I said to Ciaron this morning, this will be the best 30-1 shot I'll ever ride in a Group One race.

"I wasn't expecting to beat the English horse to be really honest but I was expecting to run one, two, three."

The win ended a 16-year Sydney Cup drought for Boss who last won it in 2004 aboard champion stayer Makybe Diva (Desert King), who sandwiched it between the first two of her three Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) wins.

Etah James did not give him quite the same feeling, but she was game.

"Most of them were off the bridle and chasing at the 600m and mine was still coming up underneath me and I thought, I'm going to run very well," Boss said.

"It's testing conditions. I don't think we broke 39 for the last 600, it was very slow."

Boss' assessment of the sectional time was not far wrong, Etah James ($14) running her last 600m in a dour 38.66 seconds to score by a long head over the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) ($18) with another half-length to Raheen House (Sea The Stars) ($6).

Maher said Etah James' light weight (51.5kgs) and a great ride by Boss was the perfect recipe for Sydney Cup success.

"She is a genuine two-miler," Maher said.

"When they get down to those weights over trips like that, anything is possible.

"Glen is in elite form and gave her a peach of a ride, and it came down to a head margin

"She was ridden perfectly and everything panned out the right way."

Etah James is part-owned and bred by Matamata horseman Mark Lupton, who trained the seven-year-old mare to run third in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) and fourth in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) prior to sending her to Maher and Eustace just a matter of weeks ago.

The daughter of Raise The Flag made the trip across the Tasman just days before international equine air travel was prohibited in mid-March.

With New Zealand in lockdown under Covid-19 restrictions, Lupton and wife Cath watched the two-mile feature from their living room. 

“I am just over the moon,” Lupton said. “It’s so exciting. There was a fair bit of yelling going on and the bloody dogs were going mad. There was only two of us here and a couple of dogs, but by God we made a noise.”

Lupton said the Maher and Eustace stable had been bullish about the mare’s prospects in the lead-up to the race and his confidence grew when jockey Glen Boss rode a Group double (Away Game (Snitzel) and Colette) prior to being legged aboard Etah James.

“When they started sprinting and Bossy took off, I thought she was a chance. She is so game.”

Celebrations are in-house for the time being, but Lupton was overwhelmed with the volume of congratulatory messages he has already received.

“I have had people texting and ringing saying when this lockdown is over, look out.

“I think the local Italian eatery might be getting booked out at some stage and there might be a fair old party.”

Lupton said the fact the Kiwis ran first and second was a positive for the New Zealand breeding and racing industries and proved yet again the quality of New Zealand horses, particularly over a distance.

Etah James has been sparingly raced and is the winner of eight of her 30 starts and Lupton indicated she would likely race on next season.

“With what is going on around the world, it might be a good time to keep her going and have another crack with her in the spring.”

The now semi-retired Lupton bred and races Etah James with his wife Cath and Sydney-based lawyer Terry Reid and London-based lawyer Gary Howes.

The quartet have more to look forward to with a half-brother to Etah James by Reliable Man in work with Karen Fursdon and a two-year-old half-brother by Alamosa in work with Daniel Miller.

“The mare has just had a full-brother to Etah James weaned and she is in foal to U.S. Navy Flag, so there are a few coming along and a bit to look forward to.” – NZ Racing Desk

Jockey Glen Boss considered her his best long-shot ride in a Group One race and Kiwi mare Etah James (NZ) (Raise The Flag) has proven him right, upsetting her more fancied rivals to win the Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick.

Making her debut for co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, the well-travelled mare has spent most of her career in Victoria with Matt Cumani before a brief stint with part-owner and New Zealand trainer Mark Lupton.

Transferred for a Sydney Cup campaign, Etah James has proven the superior stayer in Saturday's stamina-testing edition of the 3200m race.

The victory gave Boss back-to-back Group One wins after he took out the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) on Colette (Hallowed Crown) and while he feared English visitor and favourite Young Rascal (Intello), he had genuine confidence in Etah James.

"I've been riding her in work and I trialled her here in a very fast trial and I said, 'this is just flying this thing'," Boss said.

"Its work on Tuesday was exceptional actually and I said to Ciaron this morning, this will be the best 30-1 shot I'll ever ride in a Group One race.

"I wasn't expecting to beat the English horse to be really honest but I was expecting to run one, two, three."

The win ended a 16-year Sydney Cup drought for Boss who last won it in 2004 aboard champion stayer Makybe Diva (Desert King), who sandwiched it between the first two of her three Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) wins.

Etah James did not give him quite the same feeling, but she was game.

"Most of them were off the bridle and chasing at the 600m and mine was still coming up underneath me and I thought, I'm going to run very well," Boss said.

"It's testing conditions. I don't think we broke 39 for the last 600, it was very slow."

Boss' assessment of the sectional time was not far wrong, Etah James ($14) running her last 600m in a dour 38.66 seconds to score by a long head over the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained The Chosen One (NZ) (Savabeel) ($18) with another half-length to Raheen House (Sea The Stars) ($6).

Maher said Etah James' light weight (51.5kgs) and a great ride by Boss was the perfect recipe for Sydney Cup success.

"She is a genuine two-miler," Maher said.

"When they get down to those weights over trips like that, anything is possible.

"Glen is in elite form and gave her a peach of a ride, and it came down to a head margin

"She was ridden perfectly and everything panned out the right way."

Etah James is part-owned and bred by Matamata horseman Mark Lupton, who trained the seven-year-old mare to run third in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) and fourth in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) prior to sending her to Maher and Eustace just a matter of weeks ago.

The daughter of Raise The Flag made the trip across the Tasman just days before international equine air travel was prohibited in mid-March.

With New Zealand in lockdown under Covid-19 restrictions, Lupton and wife Cath watched the two-mile feature from their living room. 

“I am just over the moon,” Lupton said. “It’s so exciting. There was a fair bit of yelling going on and the bloody dogs were going mad. There was only two of us here and a couple of dogs, but by God we made a noise.”

Lupton said the Maher and Eustace stable had been bullish about the mare’s prospects in the lead-up to the race and his confidence grew when jockey Glen Boss rode a Group double (Away Game (Snitzel) and Colette) prior to being legged aboard Etah James.

“When they started sprinting and Bossy took off, I thought she was a chance. She is so game.”

Celebrations are in-house for the time being, but Lupton was overwhelmed with the volume of congratulatory messages he has already received.

“I have had people texting and ringing saying when this lockdown is over, look out.

“I think the local Italian eatery might be getting booked out at some stage and there might be a fair old party.”

Lupton said the fact the Kiwis ran first and second was a positive for the New Zealand breeding and racing industries and proved yet again the quality of New Zealand horses, particularly over a distance.

Etah James has been sparingly raced and is the winner of eight of her 30 starts and Lupton indicated she would likely race on next season.

“With what is going on around the world, it might be a good time to keep her going and have another crack with her in the spring.”

The now semi-retired Lupton bred and races Etah James with his wife Cath and Sydney-based lawyer Terry Reid and London-based lawyer Gary Howes.

The quartet have more to look forward to with a half-brother to Etah James by Reliable Man in work with Karen Fursdon and a two-year-old half-brother by Alamosa in work with Daniel Miller.

“The mare has just had a full-brother to Etah James weaned and she is in foal to U.S. Navy Flag, so there are a few coming along and a bit to look forward to.” – NZ Racing Desk

Matamata horseman Mark Lupton part-owns Sydney Cup winner Etah James. Photo: Trish Dunell
Matamata horseman Mark Lupton part-owns Sydney Cup winner Etah James. Photo: Trish Dunell



 

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