Consistent filly Secret Allure made a successful return to Riccarton on Saturday when she stormed home to capture the Listed NZB Airfreight Stakes (1600m).
The Lisa Latta-trained Zacinto filly has proven to be a model of consistency throughout her three-year-old campaign, capturing the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham whilst also registering a runner-up finish in the Gr.2 Royal Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie.
Successful in listed company at Riccarton as a two-year-old, Secret Allure finished a meritorious fourth in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) when last at the venue.
Given a brief break after running well down the track in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) back in February, Secret Allure tuned-up for Saturday’s assignment with a comfortable win over 1200m at the Foxton trials last month.
Sent out second favourite in the contest, Secret Allure’s winning chances looked remote with 600m to run as she trailed the field and was spotting race favourite Emily Margaret, who was free-wheeling in front, a conservative 15 lengths.
Rider Lisa Allpress didn’t panic as she weaved her way through the field before drawing to the outside to produce a sustained finishing burst which took her past gallant runner-up Emily Margaret with Our Hail Mary batting on nicely into third.
Part-owner and syndicate manager Andy Rennie was wondering just how Secret Allure was going to feature in the finish from so far back as he watched the action unfold in front of him in the Riccarton grandstand.
“All I was thinking at the 800m was how are we going to get into it from against the fence and so far back,” he said.
“It really turned out a lovely ride by Lisa as she had only ridden her for the first time in the Foxton trial last month.
“The key to the filly is to get her relaxed and travelling and Lisa did that a treat. That’s why you get the best to ride for you in these races and that showed today.”
With Latta in Sydney with Platinum Invador contesting the Gr.1 Australian Derby (2400m) later in the day, Rennie wasn’t sure what the future plans for Secret Allure would be.
“We could stay down here for the Warstep Stakes next week but that is up to Lisa,” he said.
“That would depend on how she pulls up although she does like it down here.
“We never make decisions on raceday so once the dust has settled on this one, we will have a talk about it and go from there.”
Purchased by Latta for $36,000 during the Select Sale at Karaka in 2017, Secret Allure has now won four of her 15 starts for just under $168,000 in stakes earnings.
Despite her defeat, Emily Margaret did enough to claim victory in the New Zealand Bloodstock Southern Filly of the Year series. She claimed four points with her second placing, taking her to an unassailable lead in the series with just the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton next Saturday left to run. – NZ Racing Desk