Racing: Achievement stuns James

Trainer felt 1600m event was too short for top-class mare on way to Matriarch.

Silent Achiever proved too strong in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Silent Achiever proved too strong in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

Cambridge mare Silent Achiever sprang a surprise on the favourite and her trainer when she won the group two Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

The 4-year-old ran down Rangirangdoo ($3.10 fav) in the closing 100m to win by three-quarters of a length with Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn ($5.50) third.

Ridden by rising young Sydney-based New Zealand star James McDonald, Silent Achiever ($6) came into the race at her second start for the campaign after a fourth at Te Rapa this month.

Trainer Roger James said he had not expected such a run from last season's New Zealand Derby winner.

"It was a little bit of a surprise, really," James said.

"I thought she had a few boxes ticked against her today: first time around the Valley, first time at weight-for-age and to be fair the mile is far short of her distance.

"But she's a class act, always has been, and maybe maturity has topped her right off."

Trailing a hot pace from the start, Silent Achiever outlasted her rivals in the sort of quickly run race James was looking for.

"We hoped that it would be, because staying is her forte and we hoped it would make it into a staying test - and the best stayer won, really," he said.

She will now be set for the Matriarch Stakes at Flemington on November 10, rather than the Emirates Stakes (1600m).

"I think she'll go to the Matriarch Stakes; 2000m will suit her much better," James said.

Rob Heathcote, trainer of Solzhenitsyn, said the third-placegetter runner had been unlucky.

"There's no doubt he should have won," Heathcote said. "Nothing went right.

"Maybe by not winning today the handicapper will look after us in the Emirates Stakes."

Earlier on the card, lightly raced stayer Vatuvei showed he could be a Melbourne Cup horse but premier jockey Luke Nolen believes it won't be for another year.

The Peter Moody-trained 4-year-old proved too good in the group two Drake International Cup, best known as the Moonee Valley Gold Cup, defeating Reuben Percival and Ironstein but is well down the Melbourne Cup order of entry.

Vatuvei, winner of the VRC St Leger last season, is 44th in order of entry with just 50kg and is unlikely to make the field even with a penalty.

"It might be a blessing because it will be great to see him with another season under his belt before he tackles the better stayers," Nolen said.

"He switched off well in behind the solid tempo and he was very convincing on the line. I think he is a stayer with nice quality but I'm thinking in 12 months' time he'll be a lot better."

Any Cup penalty will be announcedtoday.

Vatuvei ($13) came from back in the field during the run and tracked Precedence into the race before going on to have 1 lengths to spare over Reuben Percival ($9.50), with another two lengths to Ironstein ($5) in third.

Favourite Midas Touch ($4.20) covered ground early and raced on the speed but was beaten on the home turn and finished eighth, while international runner Ibicenco was seventh.

Gai Waterhouse said Reuben Percival would head to a 2800m race on November 6 before going to the Sandown Cup. Ironstein will be paid up for the Melbourne Cup.

"We'll still pay up for the Cup and if he doesn't get in he'll go to the Queen Elizabeth (Stakes)," trainer Gerald Ryan said.


- AAP

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