Trainer Roger James believes that Silent Achiever is still a run or two away from peak fitness, but he is confident that the star mare will produce an improved performance in the 2014 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Silent Achiever returned to the races with a solid fourth behind Dissident in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 30 and James told Racing Ahead that he was happy with the first-up effort of the daughter of O’Reilly.
James believes that the 1800 metres of the Group 1 Underwood Stakes is still short of the best distance for Silent Achiever, but he is confident that the $400,000 event is a much more suitable race for the four-time Group 1 winner.
“It is hard to quantify improvement until you ask the next question, but I know the mare well and given the build-up she has had the thing that will see an improved performance is the fact that she is going further,” James said.
“She was running to the line well until he had to take hold of her the last bit first-up and the fitness levels were ok for the job at hand.
“That is probably as good as you will get from her over 1400 metres.
“You can’t peak at every run and I think that every run is going to get us closer to be fair.
“She is probably not up to the distance that she is best at and if we can see an improved run I think that is where we are at.”
James has left punters guessing as to whether Silent Achiever will line up in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) or Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) before she runs in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and the Cambridge-based trainer said that he will wait until after the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) before he decides which race to target with the six-year-old.
The Caulfield Cup over 2400 metres is the preferred option for Silent Achiever, but James admits that history is against his star mare after she was allocated 54 and a half kilograms by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter when the Caulfield Cup weights were released a fortnight ago.
“I am not a statistic person, but when you get a statistic thrown at you that no mare has won the Caulfield Cup carrying more than 54 and a half since 1952; basically you are going to defy a major statistic to be able to win a Caulfield Cup,” James said.
“It is probably my preferred option because her record at the mile and a half is very good and she is probably one stride and a nose away from having won two BMW’s.
“I am just going to see how her form looks after the Turnbull before I make a decision on whether I go Cox Plate or Caulfield Cup.”
Silent Achiever ($13) is on the third line of the 2014 Cox Plate betting market with Ladbrokes Australia, while the talented mare is available at Caulfield Cup odds of $21.