Silent Achiever heads Group One trifecta for Cambridge

Cambridge racing folk had plenty to cheer about over the final stages of the Gr. 1 $200,000 Lindauer NZ Stakes at Ellerslie today.

The Roger James-trained Silent Achiever, as expected by punters who made her a hot favourite, led home a Cambridge trifecta in the weight-for-age feature, outgunning the courageous leader Historian (trained by Gary Alton) while the Tim and Margaret Carter-trained Fortune Knight produced a top effort in his biggest New Zealand test when finishing third.

Silent Achiever went into the race with a last-stride fresh-up win to her credit and she was ably handled by Vinnie Colgan, who settled her sixth on the outer and set her on a well-timed run in the straight.

Once in fully stride, Silent Achiever charged past Historian to score by a length and a half and gave Colgan some compensation for missing a series of wins on her as a three-year-old, including the Gr. 1 Telecom NZ Derby two years ago.

Colgan had been Silent Achiever’s regular rider until a fall from Durham Town in the final stages of the 2012 Telegraph Handicap sidelined him and left James McDonald to enjoy a run of highlights on the exciting galloper.

Colgan did have a brief reunion with Silent Achiever in October 2012 when fourth on her at Te Rapa fresh-up before she won the Gr. 2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley with McDonald aboard. He was understandably thrilled to be back on the mare today and he wasn’t going to let a winning chance slip by.

Though pleased to finally win a Group One on Silent Achiever, Colgan admitted to being concerned during the running.

“She pulled a bit in the running and I was a bit worried she was doing too much,” he said. “But her acceleration under not a lot of pressure was outstanding.”

James was thrilled with the result, his 1001st win of his career, but admitted he wanted to see Silent Achiever succeed in that manner.

“It was a nice effort and she had to do that to take on the programme I have outlined for her,” said James. “It’s a step up over there (Australia).”

Silent Achiever is headed to Sydney for three Group One events – the Ranvet Stakes, the BMW and the Sydney Cup.

“They’re two weeks apart so work out well for her,” said James, who indicated he would consider a trip to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup if Silent Achiever landed the money in the Sydney Cup.

Alton was thrilled with Historian’s performance after a battle to get the unsound galloper to the race.

“We came here thinking second to Silent Achiever would be the best result we could expect and that’s how it’s worked out,” said Alton.

The Carters were also very proud of their charge, Fortune Knight, a last-start winner of the Gr. 3 Hooker Pacific Taranaki Cup.

Silent Achiever’s win also topped off a memorable day for her owner-breeder, Kevin Hickman, who also bred the other Group One winner at the meeting, Vespa (in the Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes).