Silent Achiever declared her autumn prospects with a last stride fresh-up win in the Retina Specialists 1500 at Ellerslie today.
The five-year-old returned to the scene of her 2012 New Zealand Derby victory for her first start since the Caulfield Cup in October with a nose win over Fix, with Undisclosed another nose back third.
Melbourne Cup plans for Silent Achiever had to be scrapped due to a secondary infection in leg injuries suffered when she was galloped on in the Caulfield Cup, but today she looked right on target for an exciting autumn campaign.
Parading inn burly condition and with apprentice Mick Dee taking two kilograms off her 62kg handicap, the O’Reilly mare settled in the rear before sustaining a long finishing burst to hit the lead on the line.
“She’s a lovely mare, all class,” said Dee after completing a double to go with his narrow first race winner Travel Wise. “With the weight difference I thought that was a huge effort.”
Trainer Roger James is now eagerly anticipating Silent Achiever’s remaining domestic start, the Gr. 1 New Zealand Stakes on the final day of the Auckland Cup carnival, and what lies ahead of the richly endowed Sydney autumn carnival.
“I’ve been very happy with the way she’s come up this preparation and she’ll take a lot of improvement out of that,” he said.
Silent Achiever’s first Sydney start will be the A$500,000 Ranvet Stakes on March 22, followed two weeks later by the A$1.5 million BMW and then the A$1 million Sydney Cup on April 19.
Last season’s Filly of the Year Fix started favourite, mostly due to her place in the handicap six kilograms below Silent Achiever and this being her third run back, but after shadowing the leader and looking likely, she was unable to hold the winner out.
“I thought she would have kicked better at the finish,” said co-trainer Ken Kelso. “We’ll see how she is and then decide where to next.”
- The Informant