Cambridge horseman Roger James has made it clear that unless the weather in Sydney improves and the Warwick Farm track firms then his Group 1 winning New Zealand mare Silent Achiever will bypass a trip across the Tasman for the 2013 Chipping Norton Stakes on Saturday.
Winner of last year’s New Zealand Derby, the now four-year-old daughter of O’Reilly made her 2013 debut back home at Ellerslie in February carrying a hefty 61kg to a brave second when beaten a short half-head over 1400m.
“It was a huge return … far better than I thought she could do,” James said.
Saturday she is nominated to make her Australian return in the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1400m) against a crack field that is likely to include the past two winners in the Chris Waller-trained duo of Shoot Out (2012) and Danleigh (2011).
While many Kiwi gallopers are known for their wet track abilities, James doesn’t want to run Silent Achiever in the mud on the weekend despite her having won the NZ Derby on a Slow (7).
She also handled her only other wet track assignment back in January last year when taking out a Group 2 race over 2100m on a Slow (8) but James said he would be keeping her at home if Warwick Farm doesn’t get upgraded from Slow by the weekend.
“I want to come over but I really wouldn’t want to run her on a heavy track,” James told AAP.
“It was a slow track when she won the Derby but she is really better on firmer footing.
“I’m going to do a bit of homework in the morning regarding the weather but just in case, I have nominated her for a race in Auckland as well.”
That race is the $NZ40,000 Novotel Mile (1600m), an event that holds far less appeal money and prestige wise than the Chipping Norton where she would be ridden by James McDonald dropping to 57kg under the weight-for-age conditions.
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