O’Reilly Filly all class in Derby success

O’Reilly’s daughter Silent Achiever established herself as the country’s premier staying three-year-old with her Gr 1 New Zealand Derby victory. The star galloper had seasoned Cambridge trainer Roger James, who has now won five Ellerslie classics, in tears after her dynamic performance to thump the colts and geldings.

“I thought I had the best horse, but the track really worried me,” he said. “You’ve seen a special horse today and it’s an utter relief. She’s up with the very best I’ve ever trained.” Bred and raced by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, Silent Achiever went into the race as the raging faviourite after lead-up wins in the Gr 2 Championship Stakes, Gr 3 Waikato Guineas and the Gr 2 Avondale Guineas.

She gave her Derby supporters a few anxious moments with a tardy start and travelled wide into the race across the top. She got to the front early in the straight but drove clear when asked for the supreme and was dominant in the closing 100 metres. “I always thought Sydney (for the AJC Oaks) was a possibility and I have to say that’s a probability now. She’s got pure class.”

Rider James McDonald was also lavish in his praise for Silent Achiever. “She’s exceptionnal, a freak,” he said. “She slipped out fo the gates quite badly and we were three wide with cover and when I gave her a hit she just exploded.”

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