Roger James will shoot for a trans-Tasman Group One double this weekend.
The Cambridge trainer will produce four-time Group One winner Silent Achiever second-up into the Gr.1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield and Zonza in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings.
Beside that pair, James has Shees Flawless and Readywhenyouare tackling the Gr.3 Hawke's Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes (1200m), also at Hastings.
"It's a premier weekend for us. This is what we strive for," James said.
Silent Achiever is the $3.40 favourite for the Underwood and though James is wary the 1800m is still short of the Kevin Hickman-bred and raced O'Reilly mare's best distance, he is expecting her to be competitive.
"I'm really happy with her and she goes into the race in good order," James said.
Zabeel six-year-old mare Zonza resumes in the Windsor Park Plate, coming off a trial win over multiple Group One winner Sangster.
"Her trial was really good and her work since has been solid. From barrier one, I'd expect her to trail and we'll see what she can do from there," James said.
"If she can get a Group One placing, it will increase her value as a broodmare and if she can win it, she's in elite company. No Group One race is easy but she's in the fight."
Zonza, who has been served by Waikato Stud stallion Pins, could earn a trip to Australia with a bold performance on Saturday.
James was happy with his Gold Trail pair, with the former Richard Collett-trained Fully Fledged filly Shees Flawless having her first start for the stable from barrier four and Thewayyouare filly Readywhenyouare resuming from the outside barrier of 12.
"Shees Flawless' work on Tuesday morning was very good and from her draw I put her right in the end picture,” James said.
“Readywhenyouare is quite a robust filly and she's going to get back from that draw, but she should be finishing the race off strongly.”.
- NZ Racing Desk