New Zealand Derby winner Silent Achiever is set to campaign in Sydney over the Autumn Carnival after chalking up her fourth successive win at Ellerslie last Saturday.
Leading New Zealand jockey James McDonald secured his first Telecom New Zealand Derby (2400m) when he steered Silent Achiever to a two and a half length win in NZ$750,000 Group 1 over Rock ‘N’ Pop.
An emotional Roger James rated the O’Reilly filly up with his benchmark Zonda after she won the Derby in such easy style and will now give her the chance to take on the best in Australia during the Autumn.
“Zonda is my benchmark but she’s certainly up there with him now,” James said.
“Sydney has been under consideration for some time but I’d have to say that it’s now a probability.”
James has selected the Group 1 $400,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) for three year old fillies at Rosehill on April 7 as a lead up to the Group 1 $550,000 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 21.
James’ sprinter-miler He’s Remarkable is also Sydney bound with the Group 1 $2m Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 21 as his main target.
He’s Remarkable controversially lost the Group 1 $1m Carlton Draught-Railway Stakes at Ascot last November to Luckygray after being first past the post.
Luckygray’s jockey Shaun O’Donnell protested against He’s Remarkable for interference at the 600m and the objection was upheld by Western Australian Racing Stewards.
Silent Achiever was James’ fifth New Zealand Derby success after having won the race first in 1986 with Tidal Light as well as with Royson, Zonda and Hades in the 1990s.
McDonald had Silent Achiever back with the tailenders in the early stages of the race but made his move at the 1000m where he started to circle the field and was sharing the lead on the home turn.
The filly then shot away in the early stages of the straight to set a winning break to score a comfortable win on the rain affected track.
Silent Achiever has made a stunning rise through the ranks after only winning her Maiden at Ellerslie in December last year.
In the lead up to the Derby she took out the Group 2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellereslie, the Group 3 Waikato Guineas (2000m) and the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie on February 18.
The Garry Hennessy trained Ocean Park will still be heading to Sydney for the Group 1 $500,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick on March 17 and the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 14 even though he elected not to run in the New Zealand Derby because of the wet track.
“I didn’t want to find myself late scratching him on the day if the track cracked up,” said Hennessy, explaining his decision to scratch the colt on Friday. The horse needs good ground.”
“I couldn’t be more pleased with his overall condition so I’m comfortable with my decision knowing I’ll be taking a fresh horse over to Sydney.”