Major Secret wins the Horsham Cup.
The Trots Country Cups Championship has a new frontrunner after Major Secret added the Horsham crown to his Geelong cup win with a rollicking romp on Sunday.
A dominant performance from the lead saw the six-year-old Art Major entire spring to the top of the $25,000 country cups championship, having amassed nine points after nine of the 25 cups.
The championship gifts four points to a win, two to second and one to third, with Major Secret holding a three-point lead over stablemate Young Modern and Hectorjayjay, who could reclaim the ascendancy in Saturday night’s Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup.
For now the sun shines on Stewart’s camp after Major Secret and Young Modern ran the quinella in Sunday’s Wimmera Mail-Times Horsham Pacing Cup.
“They are both going terrific, I couldn’t ask for more,” Stewart said. “Major Secret has always been a good horse but has had leg problems, which he has overcome now. We are still testing the waters with Young Modern, but he is getting better and better.”
Driver Mark Pitt found the lead from gate two and controlled the 2700m Group 2, with Ideal Success, Tee Cee Bee Macray and then Young Modern shuffling through the breeze seat but with none putting pressure on the leader.
“He had the draw over the better horses in the race and once he found the front he was always going to be hard to beat,” Pitt said.
“I was able to control it. Once he found the front I wanted to back off a bit, but he was wanting to roll along at his own pace and is a very strong horse."
After a 78.4-second lead time Major Secret produced moderate 29.2 first and 30.8 second quarters, which would ensure he’d have plenty in the tank for the final surge.
“Once the second quarter was over 30 (seconds) he was always going to be really hard to beat,” Pitt said.
A 28.2 third quarter preceded a 27.5 final 400m dash that would see Major Secret unchallenged for the win, stopping the clock in a 1:55.7 track record mile rate some 8m clear of Young Modern and 9m clear of third-placed Ideal Success.
“He was really strong to the line and will only benefit from that run,” Pitt said. “He has improved with every start, which is no surprise. I’m sure he’ll take the next step.”
Major Secret, a winner of 20 of his 45 starts, won a Vicbred Super Series Group 1 as a two-year-old and New South Wales Derby as a three-year-old, and will attempt to reunite with Group 1 glory in this year’s Summer Of Glory.
Both Young Modern and Major Secret have been geared towards the January 28 Eynesbury Victoria Cup and/or February 4 Del-Re National Hunter Cup.
“They just have to get the barrier draw against the better horses, but they are definitely in it,” Stewart said.
“Major Secret is a proven Group performer and if Young Modern gets the right draw he will come into it.”
It presents an exciting opportunity for Pitt.
“(Major Secret’s) nominated for the Victoria and Hunter cups, and at the bigger cups like Ballarat he wouldn’t be out of place,” he said. “I’m sure he will be competitive. If he gets a good draw and has a good run he won’t be too far away.”