Trials wins put Cambridge stars on Group One trails

El Roca and Silent Achiever took positive steps towards major missions when winning their trials at Avondale today.

El Roca’s co-trainer Trent Busuttin was thrilled with his three-year-old’s hit-out and fellow trainer Roger James had the same feeling over the trial by Silent Achiever. And both trainers were quick to praise the Avondale club and track staff for the condition of the racing surface for the trials.

“We have been worried about the hard tracks and we’re very appreciative of the Avondale club presenting the track in such good order,” said Busuttin. “It’s a Dead5 and it’s perfect. We’ve been able to give El Roca a good hit-out with hurting him.”

El Rica made his first public appearance since his very unlucky fifth behind Long John in the Gr. 1 Caulfield Guineas last October and he won his open 1000-metre heat by three lengths from Shandream while Angelica Hall ran on nicely for third a half-length away.

“He jumped out, led then Opie gave him a squeeze at the 200 and he left them to it,” said Busuttin. “We wanted a good hit-out and that’s what he got. Opie said he felt great in his action so it’s on to a plane to Sydney now.”

El Roca will resume in the Listed A$125,000 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday week.

“He’s still a way off his peak fitness but he’ll be competitive first-up,” said Busuttin. “He’ll then go to the Hobartville Stakes and on to the Randwick Guineas, which will tell us what to do next with him.

“Ideally it would be on to the Doncaster Handicap in his fifth start (this campaign) but there are still a few questions to be answered.”

Silent Achiever is also Sydney-bound, but not before a couple of local races. She will resume in an open 1500 metres at Ellerslie on Saturday week with apprentice Mick Dee securing the ride and being able to reduce her weight by 2kg. The NZ Derby winner will then return to Ellerslie for the Gr. 1 $200,000 New Zealand Stakes (wfa 2000m) at Ellerslie before heading to Sydney.

 “She trialled up really well,” said James. “The track was in lovely order and she was last in the running, though she could easily have been third if we wanted, and she went past them and won with her ears pricked.”

Silent Achiever was ridden by Mark Hills and won by three-quarters of a length from Duckworth Lewis with Nine Pin the same margin back in third spot. She ran the 1200 metres in 1:13.91.

Hills picked up the trials ride as a reward for riding the mare in trackwork after regular trackwork rider Ethan Daley was sidelined with a badly cut wrist.

“Ethan has ridden her right through but he’ll be off for quite a while,” said James. “He knows her so well and I miss his feedback on the mare. I appreciate Mark stepping in to ride her work.”

Silent Achiever will resume her Australian racing in the Ranvet Stakes, then contest the BMW and the Sydney Cup.