It's Secret Win from last to first
El Dorado Classic winner gives trainer Daniel Meagher first Group success
Secret Win sprang a big surprise in the $150,000 Group 3 El Dorado Classic in Race 7 at Kranji yesterday and secured his place in next month's $1.35 million Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup over the same 2,200m trip.
In racecaller Matthew Jones' words, there was no way the horse could have got into the Gold Cup unless he won the El Dorado Classic.
At 64 rating points and the third lowest-rated runner, Secret Win's destiny with the blue riband of the local classic hinged solely on a win in the special qualifying race.
Although he came into the race with a last-to-first victory over 1,600m seven days earlier, Secret Win was given a wide berth in the betting in the capacity 16-horse field, as shown in his $197 win payout.
There was good reason, given the many good proven horses with much higher ratings.
But, as they say, you have to be in it to win it and, in Secret Win's case, he will now be looking to emulate the feat of Bahana, who won the El Dorado last year and went on to capture the Gold Cup with a light weight.
Ridden by jockey Benny Woodworth, who is having a wonderful year with victories in the Group 1 Singapore Guineas and Group 2 Chairman's Trophy with the CT Kuah-trained Forever Young, Secret Win came from a long last to give second-season trainer Daniel Meagher his first Group success.
The five-year-old was dawdling about 15 lengths behind the joint-leaders Perfect P and Saraab in the backstraight.
Perfect P was the first into the straight. The $22 favourite Chairman, who drew the widest gate, loomed up from a handy position to challenge and kicked ahead in the final 200m.
But, on the outside, last year's Gold Cup third-placegetter Blue Swede and Secret Win, who was still in the rear at the top of the straight, came charging home. Secret Win produced more to win by half a length from Blue Swede. Chairman held on for third, a head away.
"He was trailing behind the whole field but, from the 600m when I urged him and picked him up, he was just improving all the way," said Woodworth.
"I'm very happy for the Daniel Meagher racing stable. I'm the first one to give him his first feature winner. He's a talented trainer with very good judgment."
Meagher, the son of former Kranji-based veteran trainer John Meagher, was ecstatic with his first Group success and said "to do it with a horse I never expected to win is an even greater feeling".