The 2014 Turnbull Stakes will decide the spring path that Silent Achiever will follow, but trainer Roger James will not commit to running the talented mare in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4.
James said at the start of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival that the Melbourne Cup would be the major target for Silent Achiever, but he has been forced to reassess his plan after his star galloper was allocated 56 and a half kilograms when the 2014 Melbourne Cup weights were released by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter.
The New Zealand-based trainer told Racing Ahead that Silent Achiever is now no certainty to run in the Melbourne Cup, but he said that he will wait until after the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday before he decides whether the six-year-olds heads to the Cups or returns to weight-for-age conditions in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
“It is no certainty,” James said.
“I was generally excited to be bringing the mare across for the Melbourne Cup and that was always going to be our main aim.
“Given the handicap, the statistics that are against her being able to win are absolutely compelling.
“It can be a tough race and we are really going to learn a little bit more on Saturday and make a decision about her next run after Saturday.
“There are still some nice weight-for-age races in the autumn and if we run her in the Cup are we going to have her at a peak for that?
“There is no doubt with the handicap that she has been given she is better suited at weight-for-age company.
“We are going to take one race at a time, but I wouldn’t say that it was the certainty it was three weeks ago.
“Saturday is the crucial run and we will look at the whole picture after Saturday; where our opposition are going and most importantly our own performance on Saturday.”
Silent Achiever started her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a promising fourth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30, but she was slightly flat when beaten as favourite in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at the same venue on September 20.
James was not particularly confident heading into the Underwood Stakes and has a similar mindset ahead of the Turnbull Stakes, but he is happy with the condition of the O’Reilly mare and believes she is close to reaching peak fitness.
“I am not a confident person going into any Group 1 race,” James said.
“You can only have your horse at peak, but the trouble is that most other trainers have theirs at peak as well.
“Luck in the running plays a big part, but she is getting to full fitness and she is also getting to her distances.
“It is a very important run for her whole program and there will be no hiding after Saturday.”
Silent Achiever is available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26, while she is available at a quote of $15 in the Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.