Roger James is hoping blinkers might help Silent Achiever to reach Australian Group One-winning level when she heads to Sydney.
Silent Achiever showed her fitness for a three-race campaign in Sydney with a comfortable victory in the New Zealand Stakes (2000m), coming home strongly after Historian tried to stack the field up in front.
It was Silent Achiever’s second Group One following the New Zealand Derby two years ago. But so far she’s had two Group One placings in Australia without a victory, though she was a close second in The BMW to Fiveandahalfstar last year.
James said she wasn’t far from the best in a Melbourne spring campaign cut short by injury and he hoped blinkers, which she wore for the second time on Saturday, will make the difference.
“I thought about putting blinkers on her all through her campaign in Melbourne and it was a tricky time to do it, but I do believe that helped her today,” he said.
“I think if blinkers can find a length or two, it might make us a bit more competitive in the autumn.”
James has three races in mind – the $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) on March 22, the $1.5 million BMW on April 5, and the $1 million Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 19.
The New Zealand Stakes victory was impressive given that she settled three or four lengths off a slow pace set by Historian, who won the Group One Zabeel Classic in similar circumstances on Boxing Day.
The last 600m was run in 34.3 seconds, so it’s quite possible Silent Achiever ran her last 600m in under 34s, a useful run given weight-for-age races can be run at a slow tempo.
However, James, who scored his 1001st victory as a trainer in the New Zealand Stakes, wasn’t getting carried away.
“It was a nice effort, but she probably had to do that to take on the programme that I have outlined for her, because there’s no doubt it’s a step up there.”
Historian fought well for second ahead of outsider Fortune Knight.