Secret Amour will be vying to shed her perennial bridesmaid tag in what could potentially be her last raceday outing in the Gr.3 Winning Edge Presentations 126th Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton on Saturday.
The seven-year-old mare has been stakes placed on five occasions, including twice this preparation, and trainer Robbie Patterson is hoping for a breakthrough victory this weekend.
“This may well be her last start. She will end up in Aussie and will be bred from there,” Patterson said.
“With a bit of luck, hopefully she can get a bit more black-type for them.”
The daughter of Niagara finished 10th in the Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) at New Plymouth last month, but Patterson said a line can be ruled through that run.
“She never got a run,” he said. “The way Justaskme got back and got home, we probably should have ridden her where she belongs, out back and coming home.
“We had the ace draw and I thought we would use it a bit more, she got no luck coming up the straight and got to the line full of running.
“She will get plenty of clear air from barrier 23 on Saturday though.”
Patterson has plenty of respect for topweight and $2.70 favourite Justaskme, but has every faith in his mare.
“He is a top horse and I was in awe of his performance the other day. Horses don’t do that,” he said. “I would be happy to run second to him, but he is there to be beaten as well.”
Patterson will also contest the Winter Cup with Conor O’Ceirin, but he said the gelding won’t be favoured by the track conditions.
“He is a bit of an enigma. He has got to have rain on the day and we are not going to get it,” he said.
“He is not a horse that likes sticky tracks and it will be gluey on Saturday, so he is a runners chance.
“It’s a bit of a throw at the stumps really, you never know, it’s racing, and anything can happen. On his day, he is good enough to run in the money and hopefully it is his day.”
Meanwhile, Patterson will head to Hawera on Sunday with two runners.
The Dutch Dame has finished runner-up in her last two outings and will be looking to go one better in the Racing Again Sunday Sept 3rd (2100m), while Laddie Boy will be first-up in the M J Concept Construction LTD Maiden (1200m).
“The Dutch Dame should have won a race by now, she has disappointed me, but she gets her chance on Sunday,” Patterson said.
“She had a quiet jumpout at Hawera today (Thursday) and went really nice. I have changed the gear around and put a shadow roll on her. When she gets under pressure her head goes up, so I am just trying to keep it down. She will run another honest race.
“Laddie Boy is fresh up. He is a horse who has shown a lot of ability. He is a staying horse, but I think he will go a real cheeky race. He is a really good place bet."