Handling her maiden look at a rain-affected track the Mick Price-trained filly Secret Agenda showed her affinity for soft going with a smart win in Thursday’s Gucci Stakes 2015 on Crown Oaks Day at Flemington.
Pictured: (Secret Agenda relished a wet Flemington track on Crown Oaks Day to win the 2015 Gucci Stakes with last year’s winning hoop Damien Oliver in the saddle. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.)
The first of the Group status races on Ladies Day, this year’s $200,000 Group 3 Gucci Stakes (1100m) was run in the wet with the rain really starting to come down in Melbourne leading to a Soft (6) track rating.
Despite having no form in the wet, Price’s nicely-bred daughter of Not A Single Doubt jumped favourite and didn’t disappoint with an impressive win in fast time considering the conditions.
She was on the back foot after the jump sitting about four or five off the fence with jockey Damien Oliver allowing her to settle back off the speed and chase.
Going to the inside division as the field split in two, Secret Agenda trailed the frontrunners as the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained last start Moonee Valley winner Miss Idyllic lead them around.
By the 400m there was little between the two divisions, Secret Agenda still doing the chasing work as Ottoman drove up the Grandstand side.
She raced away from the inside pack quickly as Oliver pushed the button and reeled off fast late sectionals showing off her brilliant finishing burst and turn of foot to win in a breeze as the $4.20 top fancy over the James Cummings-trained Tempt Me Not ($17).
Finishing off the Gucci Stakes trifecta in third was the Team Hawkes-trained Blue Diamond – Golden Slipper third placegetter in the autumn Lake Geneva ($9) who was last seen winning the Listed Crockett Stakes (1200m) on Cox Plate Day.
Secret Agenda was injured when 11th in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) back in mid-February missing her chance at a Group 1 win at two, but has been back to her best this prep with a first-up Sandown-Lakeside win followed by two Group 3 seconds.
“We had a nice sit off the leader and she really loved the ground,” Oliver, who also won the Gucci Stakes last year, said post-win.
“She hadn’t seen a soft track before but today she really flew through it.
“She’s always shown a heap of potential.
“She would have been a serious chance in the Blue Diamond but she deservedly won a good stakes race today.”
Price was thrilled with the winning ride from Oliver and happy to turn Secret Agenda into a valuable Group winner for the connections at Blueblood Thoroughbreds.
“She’s been Group 3 placed on two occasions…so for her to put one away makes her a really valuable Group mare,” he said.
“Very happy, a Group 3 winner, fantastic.
“She was clearly the suited horse in the race.
“D. Oliver rode her with confidence and he clearly knows where to go.”
Likely to be put away now until the autumn, Secret Agenda is expected to improve again as a four-year-old with plenty of top targets early next year.