Secret Number overcame an absence of 313 days to win the Doonside Cup
PICTURE: Stephen Davies
By Alex Wiltshire 4:51PM 15 SEP 2016
Report: Ayr, Thursday
William Hill Doonside Cup Stakes (Listed), 1m2f, 3yo+
THE talented but rarely sighted Secret Number defied an absence of 313 days to power clear and give Saeed Bin Suroor a fourth win in eight years in the Doonside Cup at Ayr.
A searching pace was set by Maleficent Queen in the opening stages, with Secret Number keeping tabs on the leaders in mid-division. As the pace lifted the first-time gelding moved menacingly into the lead before Daniel Tudhope pushed him clear of 20-1 shot Motdaw, who was held in second.
The six-year-old was embarking on just his fifth start since finishing sixth in the St Leger as a three-year-old, but he proved he still possessed plenty of class in winning comfortably here.
Bin Suroor produced a similar training feat when Sharestan won the 2013 edition of the Doonside Cup 21 after a near five month absence from the track.
Return to Australia ear-marked
The trainer outlined plans to return to Australia with Secret Number, who finished second in the Queen’s Cup at Flemington in November last year.
“He ran a really big race,” said the Newmarket trainer. “I was pleased with the way he finished the race, and we could take him to Australia now for the Melbourne Cup.
“He has improved physically this year, we gave him a break for a long time and the soft ground was the key to him.”
Tudhope suggested there could be more to come from the Godolphin runner: “He is a lovely, big horse,” he said. “I spoke to Saeed before racing and he said he has a big stride on him so let him use it but get a lead if you can. They went a nice gallop and he dropped his head lovely and relaxed.
“He stays further and he saw out the trip nicely. That is a good training performance after a year off, he got a bit tired and he will improve for that.”