After a strong workout on the course proper at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday morning it is looking more likely connections will accept Secret Admirer into the 2012 Myer Classic field this Victoria Derby Day and skip a clash with the Melbourne Cup hopefuls in the Mackinnon Stakes.
While the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner, is worth double the prize money it is the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic over the mile that looks the more suitable of the two options for the Grahame Begg-trained mare.
“We’re going to the Myer,” Begg confirmed on Twitter.
Secret Admirer showed she was ready for her Derby Day assignment when she ran the quickest gallop of the morning at Flemington completing her final 400m in a sharp 21.55 seconds.
“Secret Admirer strode out in great style at Flemington this morning,” Begg added.
The five-year-old daughter of Dubawi hasn’t won a race since the Epsom Handicap last year but she has been keeping in touch with five Group 1 minor placings in the meantime.
She was last seen running a somewhat disappointing 11th when beaten five and a half lengths by reigning Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden in the Caulfield Cup on October 20, an effort Begg is hoping she can improve on this weekend.
Dropping back to the mile is likely to work in her favour if she does go to the Myer Classic, Kiwi hoop James McDonald booked for the Derby Day ride.
McDonald has ridden Secret Admirer twice before this spring when a second-up second in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm and her credible fifth to Fat Al when vying for another win in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over the Randwick mile at the start of the month.
In other Myer Classic 2012 news Colin Little’s promising Dansili four-year-old Soft Sand, to be ridden by Craig Williams, could be fitted with Japanese blinkers as she looks to improve on her fifth in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
“I’ve been using them at trackwork and she has calmed down remarkably,” Little said of the blinker-looking muffs which cover the ears but leave the eyes uncovered.
“She is putting on 4kg daily and she is so much more relaxed in her work because she can’t hear much.
“I’ll talk to Craig Williams about using them on Saturday because they are a fantastic calming influence and I think they could be the answer.”
The Victoria Derby Day race fields are due for release on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.
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