Vale, Silent Achiever

Media Release - Thursday February 4

Kevin and Joanna Hickman’s four-time Group 1-winning mare Silent Achiever (O’Reilly - Winning Spree) died at their Valachi Downs property on Thursday morning aged 12.

Vale, Silent Achiever  - image Sportpix

“We are saddened to share the news of the loss of our Champion mare Silent Achiever, who delivered us so many memorable performances during her exceptional racing career,” said breeder and owner Kevin Hickman. “She was a special mare who raced with heart and gave her all to every race.”

Bred by the Hickmans, out of Zabeel mare Winning Spree, Silent Achiever joined the stable of Roger James and didn’t take long to show her ability. Second on debut, she won her second start as a spring 3-year-old, one of only four lifetime starts in non-black type events.

Silent Achiever’s 3-year-old career continued with a third in the G2 Eight Carat Classic before chalking up four consecutive Group wins, including the defeat of Ocean Park in the G3 Waikato Guineas. Her first top-flight victory was in the G1 New Zealand Derby, and she was the first filly to win this race since Popsy in 1993. James then took her on her first Australian campaign where she finished third in the G1 Rosehill Guineas


Over the course of the next three seasons Silent Achiever would return to Australia on six occasions to tackle the best weight-for-age horses in Australasia in a strong era of middle-distance performers.

The autumn of her 4-year-old season in 2014 was a particularly memorable campaign. After taking out the G1 ARC New Zealand Stakes, Silent Achiever headed over to the Sydney carnival to line up in three weight-for-age events ridden by Nash Rawiller. She beat high profile gallopers Carlton House and Dundeel in the G1 Ranvet Stakes, before repeating the dose in the G1 BMW Stakes with Dundeel and Fiorente filling the minors. That campaign was completed with a strong fourth in the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The Australian media labelled her “the Giant Killer”.

In the spring of her 6-year-old career she ran a typically gutsy race in the Cox Plate for third, being just beaten by Adelaide and Fawkner.

Silent Achiever’s final race record stood at 10 wins from 36 starts and earnings of more than $3.6 million. She was crowned Champion New Zealand 3-year-old in 2011-12 and Champion New Zealand Stayer in 2013-14.

Upon her retirement James described Silent Achiever as the ultimate fighter, saying: “Shes the kind of mare that will bust her guts for you every time. She would run her heart out. I was privileged to train her.”

The daughter of O’Reilly was sent to England in 2015 to be covered by the legendary Frankel on Southern Hemisphere time in her first year at stud, delivering a filly for the Hickmans.  This filly (Lady Faustina) is now at stud as a broodmare to continue the legacy of her mother. There is a 3-year-old colt by Frankel, a 2-year-old colt by Galileo in the stables at Valachi Racing, with a yearling Kingman colt currently being broken in.

A special horse close to Kevin’s heart, he speaks about Silent Achiever with immense affection.

“As a young horse she was just an average horse, pretty small, nothing that would stand out from the crowd. Youd never dream that she would one day turn into the racehorse she did. It’s a tough day for us as we reflect on her wonderful career, but we’re so thankful to have experienced breeding and owning a mare like her.”

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