Despite a solid third to Irish raider Adelaide in the Cox Plate over the weekend, New Zealand horseman Roger James won’t be pressing onto the 2014 Melbourne Cup with his smart Kiwi mare Silent Achiever.
The six-year-old daughter of O’Reilly was one of the forgotten horses in this year’s $3 million Group 1 W.S. Cox Plate (2040m) going out at an easing $26 price to post her fifth Group 1 win.
Improving on some pretty ordinary lead-up from in Melbourne the autumn’s star weight-for-age performer and winner of the Ranvet Stakes – The BMW double surprised a few when under half a length third to the Cox Plate winner.
It was a commendable effort then and while her Cambridge-based trainer rated it as her best of the season, he doesn’t want to risk her in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“For the last three weeks I think every second phone call was questioning whether she is better in the autumn; I had to stay pretty staunch really and she didn’t let me down,” James told RSN radio.
“[The Cox Plate result] was huge relief and huge satisfaction; I thought it was probably her best run and I don’t want to be pig-headed but I thought it was probably one of my better training efforts.
“Looking at the form, it was hard for anybody to be confident going into a Cox Plate and I thought the supporters were starting to drop off, and I couldn’t blame them, but we stuck with it and we nearly got the gold.”
James was also quick to credit the Cox Plate ride of Nash Rawiller after he gave the mare a gun ride from an unsuitable barrier.
“It was stacked against him yesterday (Saturday) and I thought he gave her a peach of a ride from a bad barrier and he recognises her strengths and rides to them,” he added.
In the famous two-mile showdown at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November Silent Achiever would be forced to carry 56.5kg, an impost James believes would be too big an ask of the $3 million earner.
“I left home in August with her and I was pretty excited about having a Cup runner; I always thought she’d get two-miles but given the weight that she has been allotted and looking at the weights overall … I think it’s a big task and if we can find a better task for her she will do better,” he said.
“I think she’s the kind of mare that will bust her guts for you every time and [the Melbourne Cup] could be a pretty hard task for her.”
Silent Achiever then has officially been removed from the futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au that are led by Japanese-trained Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti ($4.80).
Instead of the Melbourne Cup James and connections are considering lots of different options for their ace asset including a possible international campaign, or a trip to the paddock ahead of another Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival raid.
Runner-up in the Cox Plate was the narrowly beaten favourite Fawkner who was just a long neck off the international winner.
Robert Hickmott’s Reset seven-year-old went into the Cox Plate on the back of a Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) win and has since been confirmed as a Melbourne Cup acceptor for Tuesday week’s clash.
Fawkner occupies the fourth line of Melbourne Cup odds at $9 to hand owner Hickmott and owner Lloyd Williams with their second victory in the world’s richest handicap in three years following the success of Green Moon (2012).
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