Scott Singleton was quick to heap praise on jockey Christian Reith after Secret Mistress had broken through at Cessnock on Monday.
“She needed a pearler of a ride, and Christian gave it to her,” Singleton said after his three-year-old filly had edged out another Hawkesbury representative, Jamie Thomsen’s Manhattan Drive ($2.60 favourite), in the Maiden Plate (1570m).
“The owners have been very patient with her, and it’s good to finally get a win for them. Whilst she is limited, she might be able to manage a bit longer distance.”
Secret Mistress, having her 12th start, was solidly supported to start $3.60 second favourite and added to Singleton’s record breaking season.
The daughter of Congrats provided her trainer with his 27th winner of the 2016-17 season, which has yielded a breakthrough black type success (with Shazee Lee in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Guineas on his home track in April) and record prizemoney already exceeding $900,000.
Singleton also notched seconds with Macarthur ($9) and Konkota ($14) in following races. Those coupled with Secret Mistress’ victory boosted his prizemoney haul for the soon to be completed racing year beyond $940,000.
Ironically, Secret Mistress had run second to the Kris Lees-trained Atlantic Edge at her previous start at Mudgee on July 2, and her stablemate Macarthur met the same fate on Monday. Lees’s mare relegated Macarthur into second placing in the Class 2 Handicap (1570m).
Reith took full advantage of Secret Mistress’ inside barrier, giving her a comfortable run just off the pace before getting her away from the fence and on to favorite Manhattan Drive’s back before the home turn.
Whilst it took her the length of the straight, the filly was tenacious and pipped Manhattan Drive – who also was game after being forced to race wide in the middle stages - on the post.
Reith rated Secret Mistress’ victory – narrow though it was – as full of merit: “She didn’t appreciate the firm ground and jarred up,” he said afterwards. “Her win was better than it may have seemed.”