Secret Agenda gets late Newmarket Handicap call up

Three-year-old filly Secret Agenda has been a last-minute addition to the Newmarket Handicap against a field of more seasoned sprinters.

After trackwork on Tuesday trainer Mick Price favoured running the filly against her own age in the Goodwood Racecourse Trophy at Flemington on Saturday.

But a small field and the absence of Terravista from the Newmarket line-up helped sway his decision just minutes from Wednesday’s acceptance deadline.

“At 27 minutes past nine Terravista and Tigers Tees weren’t going to be in it so there was going to be a smaller number of runners than I thought,” Price said.

“Tiger Tees has appeared in it, but anyway it was too late to change the decision.”

Terravista’s trainer Joe Pride said the gelding had a hoof problem but he should right to contest the TJ Smith at Randwick next month.

His veteran stablemate Tiger Tees was also entered for a $100,000 race at the Gold Coast with the trainer looking for soft tracks for the gelding.

Secret Agenda faces 10 opponents down the straight 1200m course, drawing the middle of the line-up in barrier five.

The filly has had one start at Flemington, winning the Group Three Red Roses Stakes over 1100m on a rain-affected track last November.

With showers forecast for the rest of the week in Melbourne, albeit with warm temperatures prevailing, Price is expecting the track to be dry, although he said any give would be a bonus.

The decision to accept with Secret Agenda was made with minutes to spare before the 9.30am deadline.

Price isn’t underestimating the task facing Secret Agenda and knows the long-term advantage if she can even fill a place.

“It’s a very tough task to be thinking she might win and we’re under no illusion there,” Price said.

“She might not get a lot of chances in Group Ones, in small fields and with no weight and if she runs a place it adds to her CV as a broodmare.

“She’s already a Group winner, so I suppose a Group One placing is going to add to that and plus it’s a very prestigious Group One handicap, so we thought we would give it a try.”

Apprentice Jye McNeil, who can ride comfortably at 50kg, will be aboard the filly.

Chautauqua, chasing a first Group One win over the straight 1200m Flemington course after three previous seconds, heads the betting at $2.40 over the Chris Waller-trained trio of Japonisme ($4.20), Counterattack ($9) and Delectation ($10).

Secret Agenda is a $15 chance in early markets.


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