Class racemare Silent Achiever left no doubts that she’s on target for a Sydney autumn campaign when she and Shuka were paired in a stirring exhibition gallop at Ellerslie last evening.
Ridden by visiting Sydney jockey Tommy Berry, she and Shuka (Danielle Johnson) were privately timed over the last 1200 metres of the workout in 1:13.2. Silent Achiever sat a half-length off Shuka through the early stages and as the tempo increased she got up alongside to shade her companion over the final part.
It was excellent work by both horses, whose riders exerted no pressure, with 1000 and 600-metre sectional times of 59.6 and 34.5 underlining its merit.
“She really has come back well, she’s coming to hand better than ever,” said Silent Achiever’s trainer Roger James, who was bitterly disappointed at having to abandon Melbourne Cup plans last spring when the mare suffered cellulitis from injuries received in her Caulfield Cup eighth.
Berry, whose sole raceday ride on the O’Reilly mare produced a fourth placing in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick last autumn, gave James further cause for optimism when describing her gallop. “She let down well in the straight, she felt great, really sharp” he said.
Berry is one option to ride Silent Achiever in Sydney, James having looked beyond James McDonald given his commitment to fellow Kiwi Dundeel.
Silent Achiever’s next step will be a trial, followed by a return to racing over 1500 metres at Ellerslie on February 15. With a rating of 109 she will have a big weight, but James intends booking a claiming apprentice, with Michael Dee the most likely prospect.
All going to plan Silent Achiever will kick off her Sydney campaign in the 2000-metre Ranvet Stakes, followed by the 2400-metre BMW as her final lead-up to the 3200-metre Sydney Cup. Her best result in four starts in Sydney last year was second in the BWM.
Shuka, who followed his Captain Cook Stakes win with a fifth in the Zabeel Classic, paraded looking in good order for his next Group One assignment, the 2000-metre Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Saturday week.
- The Informant