Silent Achiever returns Ranvet glory to Cambridge

Silent Achiever brought Gr. 1 Ranvet Stakes glory back to Cambridge after 33 years when upstaging the big guns in the Rosehill feature in Sydney yesterday.

The Ranvet Stakes was billed as a battle between the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente and It’s A Dundeel, the superstar from the Cambridge stable of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman.

But on the day it was Silent Achiever who finally shook off her Group One Australian bridesmaid tag when getting the better of Carlton House, owned by Her Majesty The Queen, to take major prize.

In doing so Silent Achiever became just the fourth New Zealand-trained horse to win the race since the Cambridge champion Balmerino took the honours in 1976.

The other New Zealand-trained winners between times were (Mr) McGinty, prepared by Takanini trainer Colin Jillings, (My) Eagle Eye, who won in 1992 when trained at Woodville by Baker, and Veandercross, the Wanganui galloper who scored in 1993.

James was understandably emotional when interviewed immediately after Silent Achiever’s win and he was so proud of the mare.

“I felt all week we were a far better chance than what we were rated,” said James. “I said to Nash she’s never been ridden forward but I wouldn’t make up my mind too early in the race. If they went to haul up and she’s travelling, let her roll.

“It was the wonderful ride that we’ve come to expect of him.”

Silent Achiever began from the outside barrier draw and Rawiller was content to sit wide and when seeing there was no speed on early he just let her slide forward at her own pace to track the pacemaker Carlton House.

Carlton House opened up a five-length break with 1000 metres to run and, though he had come back to the field before the home turn, he kicked clear again early in the run home.

It was soon obvious Fiorente and It’s A Dundeel, who had been handy enough on straightening, were in trouble and it was Silent Achiever who dug deep for Nash Rawiller to issue the challenge.

With Rawiller pushing hard, Silent Achiever got her head in front in the shadows of the winning post to score by a half-head.

It’s A Dundeel rallied well to finish third, a length and three-quarters behind, while there was a half-length to Hawkspur, who produced an eyecatching late run. Fiorente weakened to seventh.

“She’s had the writing on the wall for some time,” said Rawiller after his win on Silent Achiever. “Roger James was adamant this preparation the blinkers have helped her and improved her a couple of lengths and that was enough for me. That’s all she needed to find to figure in one of the big ones.”

James had already celebrated several highlights with Silent Achiever, including the Gr. 1 NZ Derby and the Gr. 1 Lindauer NZ Stakes, both at Ellerslie, and he was quick to rate yesterday’s win, his 27th at Group One level, right alongside the notable wins.

“This is right up there with my biggest thrills in racing,” James said. “Look at the past winners of this race, look at the field she’s struck today. It’s been billed as the race to determine the best horse in Australia.”

James needs to decide whether to target the Queen Elizabeth Stakes or Sydney Cup, both run on April 19. That call will be made after the mare runs The BMW in two weeks.