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Uncommon James on home soil after two years away

Wed 1 May 2024

By Glenn Davis

Group 1 champion Uncommon James will face a rare test on home soil against some interstate raiders and the might of the Tony Gollan stable in the Group 2 Victory Stakes at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

The training partnership of Steven O'Dea and Matthew Hoysted are looking to go one better in the Victory Stakes with Uncommon James after Scallopini finished second to Victorian Count De Rupee in the 2022 edition.

Uncommon James was ridden by Damian Lane during his spring assignments, but Sydney’s Tommy Berry has secured the plumb ride in the Weight for Age feature.

“We spoke with Damian and he wasn’t too sure whether he was coming to Brisbane or not,” co-trainer Hoysted said.

“Tommy came up to ride Better Get Set for us in The Archer last Sunday before he was scratched so we offered him the ride on Uncommon James.”

It’s been almost two years since Uncommon James last raced in Brisbane when he won the Darby McCarthy over 1110 metres at Doomben in July, 2022.

Despite his interstate travels, Hoysted believes Eagle Farm remains a home track advantage for Uncommon James.

“It’s the first time he’s been at home since he raced here as a three-year-old,” Hoysted said.

“He still does all his preparation here so racing at Eagle Farm is still definitely an advantage.

”Although he’s raced away from home most of his career, he still did all his early work here and only went south for his races.”

Hoysted is pleased with Uncommon James’ progress since his hit-and-run mission for the Group 1 The Galaxy at Rosehill in March.

“He ran a good race to finish fifth and was beaten less than two lengths,” Hoysted said.

“The track was a bit questionable that day and it wasn’t overly fair with the track being off a little on the inside.

“He struggled with the tempo a bit as they ran along at a good clip so hopefully over 1200 metres he can travel more comfortably and show his turn of foot.

“He’s going every bit as good now as when he won the Oakleigh Plate.”

Hoysted said Uncommon James would head straight into the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 after the Victory Stakes before a decision will be made whether to tackle the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm in June.

After his Darby McCarthy triumph, Uncommon James went on to win the Listed Regal Roller at Caulfield in 2022 before returning in the autumn of last year to run second in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes before his Group 1 Oakleigh Plate triumph in Melbourne.

The son of Cable Bay travelled to Perth for the $4 million The Quokka last year but could only manage eighth behind Overpass in the first of the Sydneysiders two famous victories in the West Australian feature.

After bypassing last year’s winter carnival in Queensland, Uncommon James went winless in three starts in Melbourne last spring, placing at Group 1 level in the Moir and Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley as well as finishing second to Asfoora in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield last October.