Reigning Epsom Handicap winner Secret Admirer has kicked off her Caulfield Cup 2012 campaign in good style at Royal Randwick on Monday morning, Grahame Begg’s smart mare running second in her first trial of the season.
The four-year-old daughter of Dubawi was last seen running third to More Joyous in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Sydney Cup Day, which was her sixth third place finish at elite level.
Winner of the Group 1 Flight Stakes as a three-year-old during the spring of 2010, Secret Admirer’s other major turf triumph came in last year’s Epsom Handicap.
This spring Begg will look to step Secret Admirer up in distance to the mile and a half for the first time as he eye’s one of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major’s, the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20.
Over her career Secret Admirer has been ridden by Brenton Avdulla in all but one of her starts, but on Monday it was former Melbourne Cup winning hoop Corey Brown – the only other jockey to ride her under race conditions, in the saddle.
Brown guided Secret Admirer to a credible second behind former Group 1 The Galaxy winner Atomic Force, who won the 835m hitout in 50.1 seconds, the Caulfield Cup 2012 aspirant beaten three quarters of a length.
“She was out to have a quiet look around,” Brown said.
“The instructions were to keep a good hold of her.
“I don’t know her that well but from what I saw this morning she seems a very clean winded animal and I was very happy.
“Grahame said because of the weather, she’d missed a bit of work and he didn’t want her to have a gut-buster of a trial.”
There is a chance Avdulla will be reunited with Secret Admirer later this campaign according to Begg who has penciled in the $175,000 Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Warwick Farm Racececourse on August 8 as her first-up run.
“The owners felt it’s time for a change but that’s not to say that Brenton won’t get back on her at some point down the track,” Begg explained.
“She’ll resume in the Warwick Stakes on August 25.
“She may go on and run in the Epsom, I’m just not sure yet.
“The other race that is locked in is the (Group 1) Caulfield Stakes a week before the Caulfield Cup.
“Provided we get that far she’ll go into the Caulfield Cup, which she’s fully qualified for, on the seven day back-up.”
When asked whether he believed Secret Admirer would be suited to the 2400-metres of the Caulfield Cup, the mare only having raced up to 2040m before when a close fifth to Pinker Pinker in last year’s Cox Plate, Brown said she gave every indication she would.
“I’ve only ridden her once (before) but she’s such a relaxed horse, not revvy, that she’ll give herself every chance to run a mile and a half,” he said.
“Given the preparation to run it I see no reason why she wouldn’t.”
Secret Admirer is yet to be added into the pre-nomination Caulfield Cup betting markets at bookies around the country.
Caulfield Cup nominations for 2012 are due to be taken on Tuesday August 7 with Races.com.au to publish the full list of early entries.
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