An all-grown-up Silent Achiever is poised to graduate as a weight-for-age winner.
Cambridge trainer Roger James has watched on with paternal pride as last year's star filly has progressed from a challenging child and finicky feeder into a mature mare with an ample appetite.
James is counting on that transformation as the catalyst for success in tomorrow's Gr I A$400,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
''Traditionally she's never been a good feeder or a good doer, even at home,'' James said.
''Both her previous trips to Australia I've been walking on eggshells to get her ready. For that reason I left her a bit underdone when I came over this time so I had something to come and go on with her.
''But this time she's really hit the ground running and helped me out no end. She's doing as well, if not better, than had she been at home and that's a total turnaround from what's happened in the past.''
While James was delighted to see Silent Achiever settle in so well in Sydney and adapt so quickly to her change in environment, he said it also meant she went into the Gr I Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) a
Even so, Silent Achiever found the line strongly under Sydney-based Cambridge jockey James McDonald to finish fourth, beaten a length, in behind Shoot Out, Monton and Danleigh.
''I thought it was a really good run. It was well publicised over here it was the best group of weight-for-age milers they could put together and the first two home were past winners of the race,'' James said.
''She went through a flat spot and James really had to ride her along but once she got through that she really hit the line nicely and that was as good as I could have hoped for.''
James said the Chipping Norton run had really brought Silent Achiever on and McDonald confirmed that after riding her in trackwork at Randwick on Tuesday.
''James worked her on Tuesday morning and he was really happy with her,'' James said.
''This race and the BMW were the two races we targeted for the autumn with her and the mile and a half [2400m] of the BMW we know she does comfortably, but I believe the 2000m of this race is right within her reach as well.''
Silent Achiever will progress from the Ranvet Stakes into the Gr I A$2.25 million The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 6.
The Kevin Hickman-bred and owned O'Reilly four-year-old mare has won six of her 14 starts, including four straight races in the summer and autumn last year of the Gr II Championship Stakes (2100m) at
Ellerslie, Gr III Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa, Gr II Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie and Gr I New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie.
She won on to finish third in last year's Gr I Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney and then travelled to Melbourne last spring and won the Gr II Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Despite that Melbourne win in the spring, James believes Silent Achiever is at her best in the autumn and credits the season as a factor in her swift acclimatisation in Sydney.
''The autumn and maturity,'' James said when quizzed about the reasons for her improved demeanour.
''Even in her last preparation she was still quite frail. Fillies are often better in the autumn and she's not a good spring filly, I don't think. She kept us on our toes a bit in Melbourne.''
James said he would do his form on the Ranvet Stakes today but on his initial assessment of the field, he rated Australian Cup winner Fiveandahalfstar and Auckland Cup winner Sangster as the two hardest
Silent Achiever has drawn barrier seven after the early scratching of Single and James was hoping McDonald wouldn't have to tuck back early to get a position one-off in running.
Silent Achiever was last night TAB Sportsbet's $3.80 second favourite for the Ranvet.
- Waikato Times