Cox Plate with rider change for Silent Achiever

Silent Achiever returning to Moonee Valley with Nash Rawiller reunited.

Silent Achiever returning to Moonee Valley with Nash Rawiller reunited.

The decision to change the rider on Silent Achiever has come as no surprise, but her Cambridge trainer Roger James has sprung one surprise.

James openly criticised Damien Oliver’s ride on Silent Achiever after last Saturday’s Turnbull Stakes when the top Australian hoop rode against instructions for the second time, letting the mare drift well back in the field rather than ride her handy. “To be fair to Damien, he got off her on Saturday and said `my blunder’,” said James.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Oliver will not be riding Silent Achiever in her next start and that Nash Rawiller has been given the call-up to return from a short-term contract in Hong Kong to take the mount.

Rawiller last rode Silent Achiever last autumn and established a fine record on the top-liner, winning the Gr. 1 Ranvet Stakes and Gr. 1 BMW in Sydney. He was the first choice rider for Silent Achiever in Australia this spring but riding commitments in Japan prevented him being aboard in the Memsie Stakes, then a suspension in Japan robbed him off the last two rides on the mare.

“He can’t wait to get back and ride her,” said James.

What has surprised many is the switch of immediate goal for Silent Achiever from the 2400-metre Caulfield Cup on Saturday week to the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley a week later. But James is never one to make a decision lightly.

“She has won around Moonee Valley and I think she’s better suited at weight-for-age than carrying those sorts of weights in handicap conditions,” he said. “I do think she does enjoy cut in the ground so she might just enjoy the cushion at Moonee Valley.”

Silent Achiever has raced once before at Moonee Valley, for a win in the 2012 Gr. 2 Crystal Mile, and James says he can’t fault the mare.

Silent Achiever had been favourite for the Cox Plate earlier in the spring but has drifted out as the result of her latest form.