McDonald back in winner’s circle in Crystal Mile

Top young Kiwi rider James McDonald was quick to bounce back into the winner’s circle with Silent Achiever storming home to take out the Group 2 $220,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley today.

McDonald was in the runners-up stall the race before when the odds favourite It’s A Dundeel was beaten by Super Cool in the Group 2 $220,000 Mitchelton Wines Vase (2040m) but stuck to his pre-race plan and brought Silent Achiever from last to score by three quarters of a length.

Race favourite Rangirangdoo ($3.10) raced on the pace from the outset and after surging to the front on the home turn was unable to hold off the strong finish of the New Zealand mare.

McDonald was happy to get back on Silent Achiever ($6) after missing out on the rides in Sydney in the Autumn after winning the Group 1 NZ$750,000 Telecom New Zealand Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 3.

“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 it. But to beat Rangirangdoo on weight for age level was very good for her box and she’s going to go on from here.”

Trainer Roger James was pleased with the way Silent Achiever overcame several obstacles to win her first race in Australia after coming up without a win in the Autumn in Sydney.

“I thought it was a good effort,” James said.

“She had a few odds stacked against her today, the weight for age scale, Moonee Valley for the first time, and it’s fair to say that the mile is far short of her best distance.”

“She’s always been a very classy mare and this was a bit of a yard stick today, and she has ticked all boxes. She’s given them all a start and a beating.”

James will now focus on the Group 2 $300,000 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with Silent Achiever and has a long a term plan of heading back to Sydney next Autumn for the Group 1 $2.25m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.