From the Commentary Box – Monday, 17th February 2014

Two of the very best local gallopers made winning returns to the track last weekend.

Former NZ Derby winner Silent Achiever and top three year old El Roca gave notice that they are in for rewarding campaigns when scoring at Ellerslie and Rosehill.

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young trained El Roca justified some inspired support when winning the Eskimo Prince Stakes at Rosehill over 1200m.

Having his first start since a luckless Melbourne Spring campaign, El Roca proved too strong for his rivals with ace hoop Hugh Bowman aboard.

Settling nicely in third spot, El Roca looked the winner as the field turned for home.

“It was pleasing to see him settle so well just in behind the leaders and Hugh was pretty confident of success” said co trainer Busuttin.

El Roca was sent to Sydney after a recent trial at Avondale.

“He showed us in his trial that he was ready to go a bold race and so it has proved” said Busuttin.

Busuttin admitted to still having nightmares after El Roca’s Melbourne campaign last Spring.

“It hurt alright……and it still does” he candidly admitted.

El Roca raced with distinction in the $1m Caulfield Guineas after copping severe buffetting on the home turn.

“His effort to finish as close as what he did that day, under the circumstances, was a terrific performance so I’m hoping a little bit of good luck will go our way this time” said Busuttin.

El Roca will have two more starts in Sydney, culminating with a tilt at the Rosehill Guineas.

Judging by his victory on Saturday, he will be very competitive too.


Also Sydney bound is Silent Achiever.

The Roger James trained mare signalled she was back in action with a nail biting last gasp win at Ellerslie.

Ridden by in form apprentice Mick Dee, Silent Achiever edged out Fix and Undisclosed in a finish that had everyone guessing.

Just two noses separated the three horses in a grandstand finish.

Making the victory even more meritorious was the fact that Silent Achiever was fresh up for this campaign and she had to give weight to her opposition.

“She wasn’t wound up for this race, but she is so classy and as they say, class is permanent” said trainer James later.

Runner up Fix carried 6kgs less than Silent Achiever and James thought that would be the telling difference.

“Fix was last season’s Filly of the Year, and she has had the benefit of recent racing, so for my mare to beat her today under those circumstances was extremely satisfying” added James.

Silent Achiever will be chasing the huge stakemoney on offer during her Sydney campaign.

And she looks to be a very competitive chance too.


Also successful at Ellerslie was Dresden Park for Jeff McVean and Emma Lee Browne.

A late riding change saw Mick Dee complete a notable hat trick of wins for the day.

Dresden Park, a filly by the ill fated Thorn Park, has fashioned a good record at Ellerslie.


Finally …..Congratulations to Tim and Margaret Carter who saddled up Taranaki Cup winner Fortune Knight at New Plymouth on Saturday.

Ridden by Mark Sweeney, Fortune Knight fought bravely to overhaul pace maker Guess What over the concluding stages.

The win capped off some consistent form and some luckless efforts.

“He’s been unlucky quite a few times recently so he deserved that” said Margaret Carter after the race.

 Catch you next time.