Friday, 4 November 2011
Europe might produce the best stayers and Australia the best sprinters but Grahame Begg would like to take on the world with his middle distance star Secret Admirer.
Whether it happens next year or 2013, Begg believes the winner of two Group One races over a mile (1600m) can measure up.
But first she has business to attend to over her pet distance in Saturday's Emirates Stakes, a race Begg has won twice from three attempts.
Bonanova won in 1999 and All Silent claimed the race three years ago with Telesto an unlucky fourth in 1993.
Secret Admirer was doing her best work late when fifth in the Cox Plate won by Pinker Pinker who finished second to her rival in the Epsom Handicap.
"I was pleased with how she went in the Cox Plate given that the race didn't pan out the way we expected," Begg said.
missed the start and it changed the complexion of the race as he looked like the leader.
"Hopefully things work out better tomorrow and she can get her third Group One.
"The owner John Muir is very keen to race her overseas.
"Whether next year is the right thing to do or whether we wait for the year after hasn't been decided.
"I'd like to hold off until the end of next year and maybe take her to Hong Kong then later to Dubai and Royal Ascot for a race like the Queen Anne.
"I think she can achieve a lot more here at weight-for-age before she goes away."
Australian middle distance horses have performed with distinction in Europe after being transferred to northern hemisphere trainers.
Starcraft won two Group One mile races in 2005 in the care of Luca Cumani, Haradasun
the 2008 Queen Anne when prepared by Aidan O'Brien who has also trained So You Think
to two Group One wins at around 2000 metres this year.
Muir tried to sell Secret Admirer at the 2009 Classic sale but when she failed to maker her $40,000 reserve, he kept her to race.
Her nine starts have so far produced Group One wins in the Flight Stakes and the Epsom and yielded more than $750,000.
Secret Admirer is the $7 equal second favourite for the Emirates behind New Zealand star and Cox Plate runner-up Jimmy Choux ($4.50).
Unlike most trainers who would be more than happy with barrier four, Begg would have liked the backmarker to have drawn a little wider.
"She's got to be ridden quiet so I'd prefer her to have drawn out a bit," he said.
"I don't expect her to get too far back. She'll probably be no worse than midfield."
Begg admitted the talented mare had not always been the easiest horse in the stable to train.
"She's learning to relax herself but she hasn't been easy," he said.
"She's easy enough in a race but early doors trackwork she was still a little bit difficult.
"That's why we've had to be a bit careful, a bit measured with her, all the way through.
"She tends to overdo things in her work that's why we've picked the races the way we have and we have tailored the program around her."