The benefit of race experience has come to the fore, with Secret Lady causing an upset over the heavily supported debutant Plague Stone at Rosehill.
Backed from $2.10 earlier in the week to start at $1.35 on Saturday courtesy of a recent 5-1/4 length win in a 900m trial, Godolphin colt Plague Stone didn’t settle as Brenton Avdulla wanted and over-raced in the middle stages of the $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m).
Secret Lady ($6.50), second on debut to another Godolphin two-year-old, Dynamited, led from the outset under Lee Magorrian and held off Plague Stone by a comfortable 1-1/4 lengths.
The filly is trained by Gary Portelli, who won this year’s Golden Slipper with She Will Reign, a race unlikely to be on Secret Lady’s program.
“She is a Magic Millions horse and that’s where the owners want to go,” Portelli said.
“She is owned by a ladies syndicate so there is the bonus which goes with that.
“I wouldn’t try to set her for both the Magic Millions and the Slipper. I think that’s too hard for a filly.”
Portelli stuck with Magorrian even though he was unable to claim any of his 3kg.
“Lee has ridden her before. We had to decide whether to stick with someone who knows her and that’s what we went with,” Portelli said.
“The race didn’t pan out how we planned but Lee used his initiative and it worked out.
“She had race fitness on her side.”
With five weeks to the Magic Millions, Portelli said Secret Lady would have one more start in the lead-up.
“She’s qualified now but this filly is such a good eater she couldn’t go five weeks without another run,” he said.
“She has always been a bit above average so there’s a lot to look forward to.”
Avdulla told stewards Plague Stone was a bit of a handful.
“I couldn’t let him fight me the whole way so I made the decision to let him stride around them as they were only going slow,” he said.
“Race experience beat him.”