Racing: Big races off agenda for Silent Achiever

By Michael Guerin

James McDonald winning the Telecom NZ Derby at Ellerslie on Silent Achiever in March. Photo / Richard Robinson
James McDonald winning the Telecom NZ Derby at Ellerslie on Silent Achiever in March. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Silent Achiever fan club are going to have to wait a little longer to see their sweetheart this spring.

Trainer Roger James has ruled out many of the races you would have thought were on the calendar for the Telecom Derby winner.

Silent Achiever is back in work with James after an eight-week spell that was badly needed after she hit the wall in the AJC Derby in Sydney in April.

After a stunning debut season, Silent Achiever was out on her feet by the time the Sydney carnival finished and James admits he might have left her in the paddock for even longer had it not been for the winter cold.

"Half of the reason she is back in was to get her out of the cold and into a stable," James told the Herald.

But her early return does not mean Silent Achiever will be aimed at the usual spring dream targets.

James is adamant she won't campaign in Australia at all during the spring, taking the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate off the agenda.

But more surprisingly, Silent Achiever won't be seen in any capacity at the Hawkes Bay carnival as she will be allowed to miss the Triple Crown.

That series of races, culminating in the Spring Classic, would have seemed a natural aim, especially the latter legs as they stretched out to 1600m and 2040m.

"But they are definitely not in my mind," said James. "They simply come up too quickly, after all the first leg is at the end of August.

"She won't be ready for that and because of that she won't be ready for 2040m in the first week of October.

"And I didn't want to tax her by taking her back to Australia for a race like the Caulfield Cup.

"Sure, it would be a great aim but I think we will get the best out of her by giving her an easier spring here, a small break over summer and then aiming her at the BMW in Sydney next autumn."

That means Silent Achiever's first real target for the season could be the Couplands Mile at Riccarton during Cup week.

"Then we would look at the Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham and the Zabeel Classic on Boxing Day at Ellerslie.

"That would be two races over a mile and a 2000m race, which is enough to get her going around in open company without really taxing her too much."

Silent Achiever is still the worst eater in the James stable, even now she has returned to light work.

"Usually once they start back working you can't feed them enough but she is still picky and leaves a whole heap of feed. That is just her, though, and while she looks a frail thing, we have all seen what she can do on raceday."

While Silent Achiever will dodge Hawkes Bay, James' other stable star He's Remarkable could contest all three legs.

"He is definitely being set for the first two and he might even go for the Spring Classic depending how he goes in the Mile."

That would mean a return to middle distance racing, which He's Remarkable tried without much luck as a 3-year-old, before roaring back into form as a 1200-1400m performer in Australia this season.

James says the problem with He's Remarkable isn't handling a step up in distance, it's keeping his libido under control.

"He has become very colty and quite hard to handle in that regard, so we will have to monitor that.

"But we would love a group one win, especially in Australia if possible for his stallion career."

GOING SILENT

* Champion filly Silent Achiever is going to miss the usual spring targets.

* Trainer Roger James has ruled out an Australian campaign until next season.

* And the filly won't be asked to contest any legs of the Hawkes Bay triple crown.

* The Zabeel Classic on Boxing Day could be her big aim for the rest of the year.

- NZ Herald

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