Underlining the Race That Stops a Nation as the major target at the beginning of the year, trainer Roger James has revealed he is now prepared to bypass the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with champion mare Silent Achiever with a long view towards the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
Returning to the track in undoubtable career-best form this year, Silent Achiever won a minor event in her native New Zealand before securing three incredible victories at the highest level of racing back-to-back, taking out each of the Group 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m), Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 The BMW (24000m); returning to the paddock after running third in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 19th.
Allocated a handicap of 56.5kgs should she accept into the 2014 Melbourne Cup, James told Racing Victoria he is not convinced Australia’s headline race will in fact figure as an ideal target this time in.
“With the weight she’s got in the Melbourne Cup, I was pretty excited about getting there with her, but I’m not quite as excited about it now,” James said.
“We have the autumn to think of and the Melbourne Cup’s not a certainty.
“We beat some pretty handy horses in the autumn and those races are going to be there again but those horses aren’t.
“Sometimes smaller fish are sweet and the Ranvet and the BMW are not exactly small. If you run in a Melbourne Cup, have you got her for those races? I don’t know.”
Nominated for her third appearance this time in in Saturday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, James said he is confident Silent Achiever will lay a serious claim for a fifth Group 1 title and will decide on a path following the race.
“It’s D-day, Saturday. A big, roomy track like this and 2000 metres should be ideal for her,” James added.
Securing a commendable record of ten race wins and five minor places from 27 competitive starts so far, Silent Achiever is currently available at odds of $7.50 for success in the Turnbull Stakes this weekend, or a particularly generous quote of $26 for success in the 2014 Melbourne Cup at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.
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