A trio of Roger James-trained gallopers are set to shine on both sides of the Tasman tomorrow, writes Aidan Rodley.
Roger James has just three runners engaged tomorrow but they couldn’t be much further apart.
The Cambridge trainer is flying to Melbourne today where he will saddle New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever in the Gr II A$220,000 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley tomorrow.
His other two runners are Gr II $85,000 Wellington Guineas (1500m) favourite Misstrum at Trentham and exciting three-year-old Touch Win in Rating 65 company at Ellerslie.
‘‘I’ve only got three runners but one at each place,’’ James said yesterday.
Silent Achiever flew to Melbourne on Wednesday with James describing the trip as ‘‘incident free’’ and saying the O’Reilly four-year-old mare had settled in well at her new stabling.
Silent Achiever is reunited with Australian-based Cambridge jockey James McDonald in the Crystal Mile for the first time since he rode her to wins in Waikato Guineas, Avondale Guineas and Derby in the autumn, though she faces a formidable lineup over a distance short of her best.
‘‘She’s taking on one of the hottest 1600m fields so if she finished fourth, it would be a good run, I would think,’’ James said.
‘‘They are specialist milers - Ambidexter, Rangirangdoo and Solzhenitsyn - so to split them would be good. She’s a stronger mare than she was last season so she just might pull something out of the hat. If she does settle early, she does have a devastating turn of foot.
‘‘James knows her and his association with her has been good. It’s good to have him back on board.’’
Silent Achiever found the line well resuming in a 1400m open handicap at Te Rapa earlier this month and James reported she had ‘‘bounced through it as though she hadn’t had it’’.
‘‘Her work on Tuesday was as sharp as I’ve seen from her, but she’s going to have to be sharp as well because her best distance is 2000m-up and to be competitive in a good mile around the Valley, I’ve tried to keep her that way,’’ James said.
Tomorrow’s race will serve as a leadup to Silent Achiever’s spring target race, the Gr II A$250,000 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on November 10.
‘‘That looks an ideal race for her - 2000m round Flemington looks a great race for her. If she’s going to live up to my opinion of her, she’s going to have to be awfully competitive in the Matriarch.’’
James said Silent Achiever would return home to spell after the Matriarch Stakes with a view to a Sydney autumn campaign in which the Gr I A$2.25 million The BMW (2400m) in Sydney in April was her target.
‘‘I don’t think you’ll see her at her best until the autumn. By then she’s going to be a more mature mare and hopefully ready for the big time,’’ he said.
Australia's TAB Sportsbet had Silent Achiever as a $4.20 fourth favourite, behind joint favourites Ambidexter and Rangirangdoo at $3.60, with Gr I Toorak Handicap winner Solzenhitsyn the $4 third favourite.
James said he was happy with Misstrum leading into the Wellington Guineas, her leadup to next month’s Gr I $300,000 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
‘‘She’s a pretty handy filly and going a mile will be even better for her,’’ James said.
‘‘I just hope we don’t get too testing a track for her at Wellington. We relax beautifully and find the line solidly and they are good attributes to have getting up in distance.’’
James was hoping for a confidence-boosting Ellerslie win from Touch Win, whom he said cost himself with a lack of professionalism when fifth to Sacred Falls in the Gr II Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) at Hastings earlier this month.
‘‘He cost himself dearly in the Guineas. He proved he wasn’t mentally quite ready for it,’’ James said.
‘‘He just did it all wrong but when he learns to conserve his energy in the run, he could be very exciting.
‘‘He is a superb galloper. I’ve only done one piece of work between his runs. I gave him time to do more but his work was so good I didn’t bother. He’s just a lovely free-running galloper. He could well be a sprinter rather than a sprinter-miler.’’
- Waikato Times