Delago’s Secret may be headed to Australia in autumn or winter after winning the Group Two City of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.
The Encosta De Lago gelding was caught three wide for most of the 2400-metre journey at Ellerslie on Thursday but surged to the front 200m out and withheld a strong fight back from his Waikato Cup conqueror Surpass.
“He hasn’t helped himself by being tardy out of the barriers at time and the 16 draw wasn’t a great help,” trainer Roger James said.
“But he showed a bit of ticker today. I think it was a good effort.”
James said the City of Auckland Cup was the horse’s main aim this campaign and he may not race again this campaign.
“I’m in no hurry with him,” James said.
“There might be a short Aussie campaign somewhere maybe in the winter but really he’ll be better next year.”
Surpass, a close relative to the day’s earlier Group One Railway Stakes winner In Style, was only narrowly beaten. The pair were 3-1/2 lengths ahead of third placegetter Show The World.
The race was marred by a bad fall by jockey Michael McNab on The Fire Inside. He was dislodged shortly after rounding the home straight and appeared to be galloped on shortly afterwards.
McNab was reportedly coherent and conscious but was taken to Auckland Hospital for observation.
It was the second fall in the day after Murray Baker stablemates Da Kensington Oval and Ezra fell in the Royal Stakes. Neither horse nor their jockeys were badly hurt.
The winning jockey in that race, Craig Grylls aboard another Baker horse, Saavoya, was suspended after admitting careless riding.