From the Commentary Box – Monday, 10 March 2014

Grand race mare Silent Achiever led home a Cambridge trained trifecta at Ellerslie last Saturday

Returning to the scene of her famous NZ Derby triumph of two seasons ago, Silent Achiever again stamped herself as one of our best gallopers in recent years.

The Roger James trained mare was confidently expected to win the Group One Lindauer Stakes over 2000m after a brilliant recent fresh up win.  Sent out an even money favourite, Silent Achiever justified that confidence with a scintillating one and a quarter length win.

Chasing her home were two other local gallopers, Historian trained by Gary Alton and Fortune Knight, prepared by Tim and Margaret Carter.  It was a notable Group One trained trifecta for Cambridge.

Reunited with top jockey Vinny Colgan, Silent Achiever settled back in sixth position in the ten horse field.  “She was a bit keen early but she was always travelling well and I was pretty confident of winning” said Colgan later.  As the field swung for home, Colgan angled Silent Achiever towards the outside to make her claim.  “She’s got a devastating turn of foot and she again showed that today” he said. 

Colgan was delighted to be given another opportunity to ride Silent Achiever after injury robbed him of riding her in the NZ Derby triumph two years ago.  “I was her regular rider until I got injured and it hurt like hell watching from the sidelines as James McDonald won the Derby on her” explained Colgan.  Through circumstance, Colgan had been unable to regain the mount.

That changed last week when Colgan received a phone call from Roger James.  “Leith Innes had been booked to ride her but he got suspended and I was thrilled when Roger rang me to offer the ride” said Colgan.

For trainer Roger James it was the renewal of a hugely successful association with Colgan.  “Vinny was apprenticed to me and we’ve enjoyed fabulous success over the years and it was great to see him ride another Group One winner for me” said James.

The win capped off a memorable day for the astute trainer after The Tidy Express credited him with his 1000th training success in the previous race.  James became a member of a very elite group of trainers to have achieved the milestone.

Typically James was quick to deflect praise.  “It’s obviously a personal milestone but I have had wonderful support over many years from owners and in particular some great staff and I’m indebted to them” said James.

Silent Achiever will now head to Sydney for a lucrative Autumn campaign.  “She’s on target to take on the best in Sydney after this win and we are certainly looking forward to it” he said.

Chasing Silent Achiever home was Historian and Fortune Knight.   Historian’s trainer Gary Alton was thrilled with the effort.   He got a soft lead and I thought he’d be in the finish, but when the others challenged at the 300m I thought he might get run down and finish back in the field” said Alton.  “To see him hold on for second behind that mare was very satisfying” added Alton.

Likewise co trainer Margaret Carter was delighted with the effort of her charge Fortune Knight.  “A great run from him and but for having a bumping duel at the 250m he may have finished closer” said Carter.

Last Saturday saw the completion of the Auckland Cup week.   And what a week it was.  In my mind it was the best Auckland Cup Week since it was shifted to its present March date.  Excellent weather, great crowds coupled with competitive racing on good tracks ensured its success.  Names like Puccini, Rising Romance, Vespa, Who Shot The Barman, Bounding, and Silent Achiever will rekindle some fantastic memories of 2014 Auckland Cup Week.

Well done to all concerned.

I’ll catch you next week.