Cambridge trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood will make a two-pronged attack on Saturday’s Gr.3 Red Badge Spring Sprint (1400m) at Hastings, which is shaping as a strong contest.
Classy mare Two Illicit (NZ) (Jimmy Choux) will kick off her spring campaign in the event while last year’s winner Hypnos (NZ) (Reliable Man) will also be back to defend his title after opening his current preparation with an eye-catching late run for third in an open 1200m at Te Rapa earlier this month.
The James and Wellwood stable has been light on numbers to kick off the new season, with just eight runners to date, however James is ready to rectify that as the tracks continue to improve over the coming weeks.
“We’ve been quite light in representation so far this season, but both COVID and weather willing, that is about to change,” he said.
“We will take two or possibly three to Hastings on Saturday and we have a number of others who are looking to get their campaigns underway.
“Both Hypnos and Two Illicit will go to the Red Badge, while promising intermediate galloper Deep Beauty could also go there for a minor race on the programme.
“We have been really happy with both Hypnos and Two Illicit and I think they both can be very competitive.
“Hypnos went a good race first up where he was very strong to the line.
“After he won this race last year, we took him to Christchurch where he won the Coupland’s Mile (Gr.2, 1600m), however I think we will take a different path this time.
“He has shown he can handle up to 2000m, so there are some nice races for him closer to home.
“We haven’t been able to trial Two Illicit due to circumstances, but she does go well fresh and I think she is ready to run a good race.
“She is another who we will reassess after this one to see where we take her in the following months.”