The Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday is expected to be one of the best races of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and trainer Roger James is expecting a big effort from Melbourne Cup contender Silent Achiever.
Silent Achiever finished eleventh behind glamour mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) but had plenty of excuses after failing to find clear running at any stage of the race.
The five-year-old mare has not been victorious since she won the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day last year and although James isn’t expecting that drought to end this Saturday he is hopeful that she can be competitive against the piping hot field.
“You’ve got to be there and hope that you get the luck that you didn’t get last time,” James told AAP.
“I think she was going to run a big race had she got room when she wanted it.
“The good thing about her is that this time last year she wasn’t feeding well and I was up against it really.
“This preparation she has been very good and is probably in the best order of her life.”
Silent Achiever will head to the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19, after running in the Underwood Stakes this weekend, before going on to contest the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and James said that his main goal is to get the O’Reilly mare ready for her first attempt over two miles on the first Tuesday of November.
“Our main aim is the two Cups,” James said.
“She drops in weight markedly in them but it would be lovely to think we’re competitive in these weight-for-age races on the way to them.”
Silent Achiever is aiming to become the first New Zealand-trained horse to win the Melbourne Cup since Ethereal took out the Melbourne Cup/ Caulfield Cup double in 2001.