Mark Young’s evergreen warhorse Secret Flyer is being tipped by connections as the horse to beat in Caulfield’s feature race this Saturday, the Sir John Monash Stakes.
Secret Savings seven-year-old Secret Flyer is one of just eight acceptors for the $100,000 Listed Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on the weekend.
Drawn in barrier five and due to be ridden by the regular jockey of the world’s best racehorse Black Caviar, Luke Nolen, Secret Flyer is out to improve on their last start fifth to Elusive Touch in the All Victorian Sprint Series Heat (1000m) at Flemington on June 25.
“He was a bit stiff in that race,” Young said of Secret Flyer in the heat.
“He was on the wrong side of the track so had to go back to last and go from the inside to the outside fence to try and work his way forward.”
Young made the decision to bypass last Saturday’s $150,000 Victorian Sprint Final (1200m) at Flemington in favour of this weekend’s Sir John Monash Stakes, and is hoping the move proves a winning one.
“We could have run him last Saturday at Flemington but he struggles beyond 1100 metres down the straight,” Young explained.
Prior to their unsuccessful last-start, Secret Flyer was in the Caulfield winner’s circle thanks to a tough last-to-first win in a 1000m open handicap on May 28.
Saturday will be the galloper’s first black-type assignment since their third place finish to Zedi Knight in the Listed Hareeba Stakes (1200m) at Mornington in February, before which they ran a credible fifth to Whitefriars in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in January.
It has been a long time between stakes successes for Secret Flyer, the horse’s sole black-type victory coming in the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in the summer of 2009.
Connections know that he horse’s record of 10 wins and nine minor placings from 37 starts is an inaccurate reflection of their true ability, Secret Flyer having been plagued by ongoing feet and joint issues.
“He has never been sound and that is why he hasn’t had a lot of racing for a horse that is seven going on eight,” Young said.
“He’s never been perfect but he’s won 10 races and done a good job.”
Young, however, remains confident Secret Flyer can return to form in the Sir John Monash Stakes on Saturday and display their customary barnstorming finish to snare an upset.
Rivals facing off against Secret Flyer in the Sir John Monash Stakes include Gary Portelli’s widely travelled sprinter Gold Trail, the Matthew Williams-trained Choisir five-year-old Uxorious to get the gun run from the inside alley, the ultra consistent Mossman gelding Second Effort vying for their fifth consecutive win and Group 1 Lighting Stakes placegetter to Black Caviar – Warm Love.
2011 Sir John Monash Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rtg.|
|1||36X4752240||STANZOUT||Colin Davies||Damien Oliver||2||58.5kg||100|
|2||1X10X540X4||GOLD TRAIL||Gary Portelli||Craig Newitt||6||58.5kg||105|
|3||5234536X15||SECRET FLYER||Mark Young||Luke Nolen||5||58.5kg||101|
|4||2X61634X11||UXORIOUS||Matthew Williams||Dean Yendall||1||58.5kg||99|
|5||47X2731111||SECOND EFFORT||Clinton McDonald||Chris Symons||4||58.5kg||94|
|6||115X11843X||CAUSEYACAN||Peter Morgan||Ms Linda Meech||8||58.5kg||94|
|7||3110X27232||RUE MAPLE||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||7||56.5kg||87|
|8||906X11123X||WARM LOVE||David Brideoake||Dwayne Dunn||3||56kg||99|