Achiever cements Queensland Derby berth

Chris Waller admits he had all but given up on Achiever before a confidence-boosting win three starts ago shifted the goal posts and set the foundations for the horse to emerge as a Queensland Derby contender. 

A handy two-year-old, Achiever lost his way in the spring and was gelded, but the procedure did not produce an immediate outcome. 

It wasn’t until he was ridden more aggressively to break through on the Kensington track in March that Waller began to think he still had a horse to work with. 

When Achiever led and fought resolutely to finish third in the Frank Packer Plate last month, the writing was on the wall for his all-the-way victory in Saturday’s John Messara Handicap (2000m) at Rosehill. 

“He has come of age since we have been racing him on the speed,” Waller said. 

“We had looked at moving him on to an easier place in racing, but he got some confidence when he pinched a race three starts ago. 

“He is going to be a competitive horse now we have learned how to ride him and found his right distances.” 

Achiever falls under Denise Martin’s Star Thoroughbreds banner and his victory was an emotional one for the popular racing identity, who lost her 94-year-old mother last weekend. 

The winner had his rivals off the bit and chasing before the corner, with only Godolphin horse Lackeen emerging as a serious threat before Achiever beat him off to score by a short neck.

The winner’s stablemate No Compromise was another 1-1/4 lengths away in third. 

Waller confirmed Achiever would head to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm in two weeks.