Jimmy James Maguire impresses in Hororata Cup win

By Michael Guerin

The connections of Jimmy James Maguire have a decision to make but trainer Brendon Hill thinks he knows what they should do.

And he not just saying they should keep racing the talented five-year-old because that means he gets to keep training him.

Hill pulled off a great training feat getting the son of Bettor's Delight to win fresh up in over two months in the $20,000 Garrards Hororata Cup at Methven on Sunday.

Jimmy James Maguire was savaged by another horse in a transporter on his way to Invercargill Cup day in December and took a while to recover from his wounds.

So to win in that fresh state over 3000m, beating Heza Sport, shows that touch of class Jimmy James Maguire has.

That was no secret after Jimmy James Maguire won the $50,000 NZBS Sales Series Pace at Kaikoura in October and that sort of form has caught the attention of agents.

“We had an agent ring who was keen on him on Friday and I am sure they will be again,” says Hill.

“But I told the owners I think they can have a New Zealand Cup horse this season and an open class horse they can have a lot of fun with.

“Of course I’d respect if they want to sell him but I know how hard these horses are to get and you could go back to the sales this week and spend good money trying to replace and not get a horse anywhere as good.

“So I hope they keep him because he has so many good races he can end up in and I know from experience how much having a horse good enough to race in the better races can change your life.”

The first of those six-figure targets for Jimmy James Maguire is the Country Cups Final which means racing in at least one more country cup, almost certainly the Ashburton Cup in two weeks.

Then how big a name Jimmy James Maguire can make for himself in the open class ranks will depend on how he adapts to the lung-burning demands of the big time.

But after the resilience he has shown this summer you wouldn’t bet against him being in the biggest Cup of them all in November.

Meanwhile, Hill says his new stable star and NZ Cup placegetter Beach Ball has yet to rejoin the team but isn’t far away.

“He had a little break and Kevin (Chapman, owner) is still jogging him up but I think he will be back here in March and we could look at an Alexandra Park campaign in April and May.”

While Jimmy James Maguire was the star of the show on Sunday the most impressive winner of the day was Gem N Em who showed the benefit of recent racing to bolt away with her maiden by five-and-three-quarter lengths.

She paced 2:0.2 for the mobile mile and has clearly not finished winning yet for trainer Coaster Howe.

That was the first of three wins on the day for Sam Thornley, taking him to equal fifth on the national open driver’s premiership.

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