Star New Zealand mare Silent Achiever (NZ) notched her first Australian win with a commanding victory in the $225,000 Group 2 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Ridden by James McDonald, Silent Achiever (NZ) settled second last early in the run, just in front of Ambidexter (McEvoy), five lengths off the leader. The pace picked up mid race after Illo (Rodd) made a move from midfield to take over the lead from Spacecraft (C Schofield).
The injection of speed was good for Silent Achiever back in the field but did no favours to Rangirangdoo (NZ) (Rawiller) who sat second in the run off both leaders then when Illo compounded before the turn, was left in front.
Rounding the turn Rangirangdoo had a commanding lead but Ambidexter was making his move from the back of the field and was giving Silent Achiever a perfect trail into the race. On straightening Silent Achiever was in the clear out wide and finishing hard.
With 100m to go she collared Rangirangdoo, who had no response to her challenge, before going on to win. The official margin was three quarters between the two with a further neck to Solzhenitsyn (NZ) (Brown) in third. The overall time was 1.35.60 with the last 600m run in 36.50.
“I thought it was a good effort because she had a few odds stacked against her today, the weight-for-age scale, Moonee Valley for the first and it’s fair to say the mile is far short of her best distance,” James said.
“She has always been a very classy mare and this was a bit of a yard stick today and she has ticked all the boxes.
“She has given them all a start and a beating. The Matriarch was always her main aim and this was going to be the race to get her through.
“It’s fair to say that she wasn’t seen at her best in Sydney last season, retrospect is a great thing but I think the first run over there bottomed her.
“We said when we came home that we’d like to come back and have a serious, specialised preparation for the BMW.”
“I’ve never been beaten on this filly and it’s good to win here on Cox Plate day,” McDonald said.
“That’s her racing pattern and we didn’t want to change that but to beat Rangirangdoo at weight-for-age level was very good in her books and she is going to go on from here.
“Like good horses do they adapt to the track conditions and she got around the corner really well and she has got a bright future ahead of her.”
Silent Achiever is by O’Reilly (NZ) out of the Zabeel (NZ) mare Winning Spree (NZ) and is owned by K J Hickman.
Silent Achiever (NZ) and James McDonald (gold) with Rangirangdoo (NZ) and Hugh Bowman inside, picture Sportpix.com.au