Star racemare Silent Achiever is on schedule to cross the Tasman on Wednesday and kick off her Melbourne campaign in Saturday’s Gr. 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield.
Trainer Roger James reports that the recently crowned New Zealand Stayer of the Year is at least at the same fitness level as when she resumed in last year's Memsie, with the added benefit of a trial placing at Taupo last week.
“I think the trial will have brought her on a lot,” James told www.theinformant.co.nz this morning. “She’ll have her final gallop here at Cambridge tomorrow and she’ll be ready enough. I don’t think she’s far away from where she was 12 months ago.”
The O’Reilly mare beat only two runners in the 1400-metre Memsie Stakes last year, but was still less than six lengths from the winner Atlantic Jewel. She was then close behind the major placegetters in the 1800-metre Underwood Stakes and the 2000-metre Turnbull Stakes before finishing eighth, beaten two and a half lengths, in the Caulfield Cup.
That was her last Melbourne start after she developed cellulitis as a result of injuries she suffered when galloped on in the Caulfield Cup, but she bounced back with a vengeance in the autumn for a weight-for-age hat-trick comprising the New Zealand, Ranvet and BMW Stakes.
Silent Achiever, who will be ridden on Saturday by Damien Oliver before Nash Rawiller takes over, is set to follow a similar initial path as last year, with the Underwood next on her agenda on September 20.
The Caulfield Cup is not in calculations this time round, however, the preference being to run in the Cox Plate a week later as her final lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.
Back on the home front James remains unsure whether the other Group-winning racemare in his team, Zonza, will secure a start in Saturday’s Group One New Zealand opener, the Makfi Challenge Stakes at Hastings.
With Viadana and Coup Ay Tee officially withdrawn, and assuming Silent Achiever will join them, Zonza remains one outside the 16-starter limit.
“I’d love her to make the field but we’ll just have to take our chance,” James said of the Zabeel mare. “It looks like we won’t know until we see the final field on Wednesday.”
- The Informant