New Zealand horseman Roger James is gearing up for another big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid starting this Saturday at Caulfield with his talented mare Silent Achiever to run first-up in the star studded Memsie Stakes 2013.
Due to run as the last on Saturday’s program, the season’s first Group 1 race is the $350,000 weight-for-age Memsie Stakes, the 1400m gallop attracting a bumper 18 nominations this year including 11 individual Group 1 winners.
The imposing host of entries includes the two stayers that ran one-two in last year’s Melbourne Cup with Green Moon and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente, as well as the return of Mark Kavanagh’s Group 1 winning duo Atlantic Jewel and Super Cool.
Another big name entry is then Kiwi visitor Silent Achiever, the now five-year-old O’Reilly mare after her first Group 1 win in Australia having settled into her temporary Melbourne base much better than last time.
“She’s never been a good feeder and not a great doer or (have) a great constitution, but she was probably at her worst last spring,” James told RSN’s Racing Ahead this week.
“My staff have reported that she’s hit Melbourne running and she’s feeding probably as well she ever feeds at home, so those indications to me are very pleasing.”
She enjoyed elite level success back home as a three-year-old in March last year winning the New Zealand Derby at Ellerlise over the two miles, but is yet to take home a big one down under.
She came close one run after the NZ Derby in her Aussie debut when an unlucky third to Laser Hawk in the Rosehill Guineas after encountering interference in the run.
Silent Achiever’s other notable runs here include her Group 2 Moonee Valley Mile (1600m) win last spring and her four stellar Group 1 runs in the autumn.
She ran top five in the Chipping Norton (4th to Shoot Out), Ranvet Stakes (5th to Foreteller), The BMW (long neck away 2nd to Fiveandahalfstar) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (4th to Reliable Man) before heading home for a spell.
Returning from that break this weekend Silent Achiever faces a mighty first-up assignment as she heads towards all the majors.
James has her nominated for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate and could also throw in an entry for the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) when nominations for the November classic close next Tuesday.
He knows too that she’s not likely wound-up enough to win on Saturday, but is looking forward to getting a better gauge on exactly where she’s at.
“She’s not wound up at all,” he said.
“I see this run as unwinnable for her. She’s not known at this distance level, she’s still got a little bit of a winter coat and it’ll be a run to put down a foundation for future runs during the spring.
“The main aims for her are the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
“She’s going to be placed to advantage in those races, I hope, weight-wise. We’ll better placed there than in the races on the way to them.
“She’s ready enough that the run won’t hurt her but when she goes through this she’ll be more of a force to be reckoned with.”
Silent Achiever pays a generous $61 in the early Melbourne Cup odds and is at a quote of $34 in Caulfield Cup betting.
On Saturday her regular rider James McDonald rides superstar It’s A Dundeel opening up the ride on Silent Achiever for Steven Arnold.
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