Silent Achiever will be chasing an upset win in Saturday's Underwood Stakes to continue a run of success in the race for New Zealand horses in the Caulfield feature.
The Roger James-trained mare couldn't get clear running when eleventh in the Memsie Stakes (1400m), won in dominant fashion by superstar Atlantic Jewel.
However, last year's NZ Derby winner has given her trainer the indication she's in the best order of her life as she heads towards the major Cups this spring.
New Zealand horses Ocean Park and Lion Tamer have won the past two editions of the Gr. 1 Underwood (1800m) at Caulfield. Silent Achiever, the Murray Baker-trained It's A Dundeel and John Sargent's Quintessential will be bidding to make it three in a row against what is expected to be stellar opposition with Atlantic Jewel and a host of Group One winners nominated.
James is targeting Silent Achiever at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups but believes the mare can be competitive in weight-for-age races during the lead-up. He lamented her lack of luck in the Memsie, where she was held up on the fence and was unable to be fully tested in the straight. "I think she was going to run a big race had she got room when she wanted it," James said. "The good thing about her is that this time last year she wasn't feeding well and I was up against it really. This preparation she has been very good and is probably in the best order of her life."
James is respectful of the opposition Silent Achiever will meet. "There's nowhere to hide," he said. "You've got to be there and hope that you get the luck that you didn't get last time.
"Our main aim is the two Cups. She drops in weight markedly in them but it would be lovely to think we're competitive in these weight-for-age races on the way."
Silent Achiever has 53kg in the Caulfield Cup with Melbourne Cup weights to be declared today.
The Underwood Stakes has attracted 26 nominations including Atlantic Jewel, Puissance De Lune, Green Moon, Sea Moon and last start Group One winner Foreteller.
- The Informant