Derby start on the line

Cambridge trainer Roger James will get a fine opportunity to weigh up the NZ Derby prospects of Silent Achiever at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Silent Achiever is the sole filly in the Group III H.S. Dyke Waikato Guineas (2000m) and will clash with Gary Hennessy’s exciting colt Ocean Peak, a last-start runaway winner of the Group III Phil Cataldo Bloodstock Wellington Stakes at Trentham.

“It will be a bit of a test for Silent Achiever. It’s 35 days since she ran and I’ve got a lot of respect for Ocean Peak,” said James, who prepares Silent Achiever for breeder Kevin Hickman. “I do rate her highly and the sectionals she has run in every race she’s had have been outstanding.”

James hadn’t originally entertained the idea of tackling the Group I Telecom NZ Derby in March with the talented filly, but that has all changed in the last few weeks since Silent Achiever won the Group II Radio Live Championship Stakes at Ellerslie.

“I’m keeping the doors open,” said James in reference to a possible start in the NZ Derby. “If she goes well on Saturday she could run in the Derby then go to Aussie.”

The Australian aim is the $A400,000 Storm Queen Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 7. The race was formerly known as the Arrowfield Stakes and James won it in 2002 with Sixty Seconds.

James says he will also consider the AJC Oaks in Sydney, but that will depend on the first-up Australian effort.

Silent Achiever will be ridden on Saturday by James McDonald, who has picked up the ride as a result of regular jockey Vinnie Colgan being injured.