Grahame Begg’s always-honest Dubawi mare Secret Admirer is looking at her 17th straight loss on Saturday unless she can adjust her racing style to suit in the 2013 Queen Of The Turf Stakes at Rosehill Racecourse.
The now five-year-old has been a consistent Group 1 performer finishing in the money at elite level seven times since she last scored a turf triumph in October of 2011.
Winner of the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) as a three-year-old in October of 2010 Secret Admirer became a dual Group 1 champ during the following year’s spring carnival when beating home subsequent Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker by nearly two lengths after overcoming barrier 16 of 17 in the Epsom Handicap over the Randwick mile.
Since then she’s certainly been a competitive force in the big races in both Sydney and Melbourne recording a plethora of top three finishes including two very close thirds firstly to Appearance in the Myer Classic and then to Happy Trails in the Emirates Stakes during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
While all of that is very nice it would be great for connections and Begg if Secret Admirer could score another Group 1 win and shrug off her place-getter only tag from the past couple of seasons.
She’ll get that chance on Saturday when racing second-up in the $400,000 Group 1 Inglis Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) on Golden Slipper Day.
It won’t be an easy assignment however as she faces a top field led by the odds-on favourite and dual defending champion More Joyous.
More Joyous pays a short $1.40 in the current Queen Of The Turf Stakes odds while Secret Admirer can be found further down the markets at a quote of $13.
She resumed in the same race Gai Waterhouse’s super mare More Joyous did on March 23 when fifth to Pierro in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m), More Joyous running second there.
Knowing just how tough Saturday will be Begg is remaining optimistic with Secret Admirer hoping that the tempo is much faster than expected to help her out.
“That’s the problem with her on Saturday, the lack of speed in the race,” Begg said.
“They’re not going to be flying in front and she is probably going to be a bit of a victim of the pace.
“Any of those horses who are backmarkers, they need them to run along.”
While the race speed is a concern the fitness and recent work of Secret Admirer is definitely not according to Begg who is more than happy with how she came through the Canterbury.
“She was a bit fresh in the race and jumped and settled a lot closer than she normally does,” Begg said.
“But she ran well and stuck to her guns.
“She’s in good shape.”
As for where to next Begg said he was considering both the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 20, a race she finished eighth in last year behind More Joyous, and the $500,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) the following Saturday on Sydney Cup Day which she ran third to More Joyous in last autumn.
“We will see after this preparation what happens but she could easily go to stud this year,” he said.
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