Racing: James hopes for big achievements

By Michael Guerin

Last season's NZ Derby winner Silent Achiever is likely to resume in October before going to Riccarton. Photo / Richard Robinson
Last season's NZ Derby winner Silent Achiever is likely to resume in October before going to Riccarton. Photo / Richard Robinson

Roger James's notebooks tell him everything is going to be fine with Derby darling Silent Achiever.

Which is just as well because the early signs of her new campaign haven't done a lot else to make James smile.

The Cambridge trainer has had last season's sensational filly back in work for 10 weeks and so far she has proven a difficult young lady to deal with.

"The main problem is she isn't eating," said James.

"And that means her work can sometimes be a little lacklustre, too.

"With any other horse that might bother you."

Not with Silent Achiever, who dominated our 3-year-olds ranks last summer and stamped herself a potential weight-for-age star next year.

James has only to revert to his training bibles from last year to confirm the pickiness is just history repeating itself.

"I went back through my books and last year she didn't eat an entire feed once in the months of July, August and September.

"And that is exactly what is happening again. We have her on the smallest amount of feed we give any horse and she still leaves some behind."

James believes Silent Achiever's appetite and her oomph will return once she feels the sun on her back and the buzz of raceday.

"She should perk up as the weather gets hotter and, remember, last year when she had a race she hardened up a lot."

With that in mind, James will look for a 1400m race about the start of October to help Silent Achiever dial in before she heads to Riccarton for the Couplands Mile, her first serious assignment of the spring.

While Silent Achiever is being a problem child, James was feeling more satisfied with his other stable stars after yesterday's trials at Paeroa, as the recently-closed track started its new life under the Waikato Racing Club.

James took big guns Full Of Spirit, La Vienne, The Terminator, Splitsecond and Rasteau to the trials, with Zonza a late withdrawal after being slightly sore yesterday morning.

It was Full Of Spirit who pleased James the most, coming from off the speed in the opening 1150m catchweight to grab Rasteau, who led.

"I am very happy with her and it was a nice win on a track too heavy for her."

Full Of Spirit was the giant late improver of the autumn, capturing the group three Adrian Knox Stakes in Sydney before running fourth in the AJC Oaks.

The beautifully-bred daughter of Flying Spur could have one start in New Zealand this campaign before being aimed at more black type races in Melbourne.

La Vienne ran on well behind Dolmabache in the next 1150m catchweight and will join The Terminator, who blew out yesterday, on the Cups trail.

"They have plenty of options but the big three for them early on will be the Counties, Waikato and Avondale Cups."

Meanwhile, Mufhasa just holds $4 favouritism over Ocean Park for Saturday's Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings.

The field for the first group one of the season comes out today with so little between the pair in the futures market that draws and track conditions could dictate who starts raceday favourite.

The Hastings track was rated a Slow (8) yesterday, with the region expecting some rain this week but also some drying winds.

NOT WORRIED

* Silent Achiever is up to her old tricks with trainer Roger James.
* The Derby winner lacks appetite and zest, much as she did this time last year.
* Mufhasa clings to favouritism over Ocean Park for Saturday's Mafki Challenge at Hastings.

- NZ Herald

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