New Zealand mare Silent Achiever unleashed a powerful lunge in the final 50 meters of the Ranvet Stakes (Aus-I) and spoiled a brilliant front-running tour de force from Carlton House March 22 at Rosehill Gardens.
The O'Reilly mare won by half a head in the final stride, finishing the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) race in 2:02.30.
One race before the Ranvet, speed-loving Steps In Time led all the way and hung on to win the Coolmore Classic (Aus-I) in a second dramatic finish from Sweet Idea, who nearly overtook her in the final stride.
The Ranvet was hyped as a showdown between 2013 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) winner Fiorente and champion It's a Dundeel. But Queen Elizabeth II's Carlton House took charge from the get-go and bowled along at the front, with Silent Achiever spurting up to stalk from second under Nash Rawiller.
Carlton House led by as many as six lengths with a half mile to run before the field closed in on the home turn. He appeared likely to be swallowed up but then kicked on again when asked by Kerrin McEvoy and opened up a length on Silent Achiever. With powerful strides, however, Silent Achiever drew even in the closing stages before prevailing in a head-bobbing finish.
Fiorente, the 2-1 favorite, ranged up to the outside of Silent Achiever on the home turn and was joined by It's a Dundeel at the 300-meter mark. It's a Dundeel ran on to take third as the top two pulled away; Fiorente faded to seventh in the 10-horse field.
Silent Achiever, trained by Roger James, entered off pair of wins at Ellerslie, most recently the New Zealand Stakes (NZ-I) March 8. She was New Zealand's champion 3-year-old filly after wins in the 2012 New Zealand Derby (NZ-I) and Avondale Guineas (NZ-II).
A homebred of K. J. Hickman, Silent Achiever has 9-3-2 record from 24 career starts. She is out of the Zabeel mare Winning Spree.
Steps in Time, a 6-year-old Danehill Dancer mare, got her first career group I win in the Coolmore Classic with the short half head triumph under Jim Cassidy.
She covered 1,500 meters (about 7 1/2 furlongs) in 1:28.75 for her ninth win from 25 starts for Joseph Pride, who trains her for a partnership.
Sweet Idea, who tracked from second throughout, was 2 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Catkins, the 4-1 favorite.
The dam of Steps In Time, who was bred by Arrowfield Group, is Australian group II winner Rare Insight, an O'Reilly half sister to multiple group I winners Vision and Power and Glamour Puss.
Earlier on the card, Darley's Earthquake stayed unbeaten in four career starts for trainer Peter Snowden with a 1 1/4-length triumph in the Reisling Stakes (Aus-II).
The 2-year-old Exceed And Excel filly, ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, will likely be the overwhelming favorite to the Golden Slipper Stakes (Aus-I) next month. The purse of $3.5 million ($3, 179,050 in United States funds) makes the April 5 race at Rosehill Gardens the world's richest for juveniles.