Silent Achiever, Vespa Win in New Zealand

Two group I races anchored the March 8 card at Ellerslie.

Former New Zealand champion Silent Achiever overhauled longtime pacesetter Historian and won the Lindauer New Zealand Stakes (NZ-I), one of two group I races on the March 8 card at Ellerslie. 

Although Historian set a dawdling pace, jockey Vinnie Colgan settled Silent Achiever mid-division. Eased out for her run entering the stretch, the 5-year-old O'Reilly mare was ready to fire when called upon and delivered Historian a 1 1/2 length defeat.

Fortune Knight was third in the nine horse field. 

Silent Achiever was timed in 2:06.15 for the 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) to post her eighth win from 23 career starts. She came into the race after a victory at Ellerslie Feb. 15 to snap at 10-race winless stretch dating from her win in the 2012 Schweppes Crystal Mile (NZ-II). She was New Zealand's champion 3-year-old filly that season after wins in the New Zealand Derby (NZ-I) and Avondale Guineas (NZ-II).

Trained by Roger James for owner-breeder K. J. Hickman, Silent Achiever is out of the Zabeel mare Winning Spree

Hickman also is the breeder of Karaka Million winner Vespa, who won for the first time at the top level on the March 8 card. 

With Mark Du Plessis at the reins, the Elusive City colt took control soon after the start and captured the Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes (NZ-I) for 2-year-olds. 

Karaka Million third-place finisher O'Marilyn raced shoulder to shoulder with Vespa but yielded in the closing stages. Vespa crossed the finish line a neck to the better of O'Marilyn, who outfinished third-place finisher Platinum Balos by 1 1/2 lengths.

Vespa covered 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in 1:11.70 for his fourth win from six career starts.

Johno Benner trains Vespa for the partnership of C. J. B. Norwood and C. A. Rutten. The brown colt is out of the Fantastic Light mare Miss Avalon.

Vespa was purchased for just $34,000 ($28,540) by Cavallo Agistment Centre at the 2013 Karaka select yearling sale. Valachi Downs, agent, consigned.