Hawkesbury trainer Scott Singleton turned back the clock at Wellington on Sunday. With his first country runners of the new year, Singleton scored with Secret Mistress in the Class 1/Maiden Plate (1700m) to clinch his first winner at the track in nearly a decade.
Given a positive ride by Shaun Guymer, well-backed Secret Mistress ($5.50) edged out Dizzy Spell ($9.50) and Mount Taishan ($4) to post the second win of her career.
Singleton, who began training in the 2005-06 racing year, has won races on no less than 32 tracks. But until Sunday, his only previous winner at Wellington was in the 2008-09 season, although he hasn’t had a lot of starters there.
Singleton took Secret Mistress and Celtic Diamond to Sunday’s meeting; not only his first country runners of 2018, but also his first at Wellington since the 2014-15 season. Celtic Diamond ($9) finished fourth in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m) before Secret Mistress justified good support with a game victory.
Guymer’s move soon after the start to put the four-year-old Congrats mare into the race by settling second undoubtedly was the difference between winning and losing. Secret Mistress joined pacemaker Dizzy Spell on the home turn and, though, veering wider on the track in the straight, finished off nicely.
Her previous victory was at Cessnock last July in a 1570m Maiden Plate, when she was ridden by Christian Reith. Secret Mistress was having her fifth start since a break and Singleton had her in peak condition to return to the winning list.
The mare’s victory followed on from Singleton’s December successes with Madam Juror and Fame Shines (both at Orange) and his Provincial Championships candidate Poet’s Advocate at Wyong.
Singleton won a heat of last year’s Provincial series on his home track with Shazee Lee, who subsequently provided her trainer with his biggest success in the Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) at the club’s annual stand-alone meeting.