Secret Amour has fashioned a tidy record with five wins from limited opportunities and trainer Robbie Patterson is on a mission to guide the black-type placegetter to major stakes success this preparation.
The six-year-old daughter of Niagara will kick off her spring campaign at Wanganui on Saturday, and following a recent trial victory, her New Plymouth conditioner is hoping for a case of déjà vu.
Secret Amour will step out in the Wanganui Insurance Brokers Open Handicap (1340m) and was a resuming winner on the course back in April in her first appearance from Patterson’s stable.
“She’s pretty much cherry ripe for Saturday and she won fresh-up there last time around so I’m hoping for a repeat,” he said.
The mare went on to finish third in both the Gr.3 Rotorua Stakes (1400m) and the Listed AGC Ag Training Stakes (1600m) before heading back to the paddock.
“She’s come up well and went for a break when the tracks were starting to get too heavy. She’s in fine fettle for tomorrow,” Patterson said.
Safely through Saturday, Secret Amour will head to the Gr.3 Wyndspelle @ Grangewilliam Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Hawera on October 8 with a possible southern trip to follow.
“The Breeders’ Stakes is the first target and if she goes well in that I would love to take her down for the Coupland’s Mile (Gr.2, 1600m),” Patterson said.
“She would love the mile and the big, long straight at Riccarton and I’d say she would be down in the weights.”
All the key indicators point to Secret Amour giving a strong account of herself when she returns to competition on Saturday with Craig Grylls booked for the ride.
She was a trial winner over 1000m earlier this month on the new synthetic track at Awapuni.
“I wasn’t going to go there, but I had to get her ready and I saw she had trialled on the synthetic at Cambridge when she was with Te Akau,” Patterson said.
“She came through the trial well and had a lot of residual fitness as she had only been in the paddock for three weeks.”
Secret Amour began her career with Jamie Richards and won four times from his then Matamata base.
Patterson quickly found Secret Amour required extra attention to keep her happy and settled.
“She’s a bit quirky on race day, you have to work around her and not the sort of horse you take to the races and put in the tie-ups,” he said.
“You have to be hosing her, looking after her and keeping her busy. When she gets on the track though, she is all business.