Horses To Follow » Secret Number

Secret Number

All the focus after the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday was on the unlucky runner-up Excess Knowledge, and he is now towards the head of the market for the St Leger. John Gosden’s horse is obviously a big player in the final Classic picture for now but, with the focus on him, it could mean that the two Godolphin horses, the winner Cap O’Rushes and in particular the fifth, Secret Number, have gone a little under the radar.

Secret Number was strong in the market, usurping Cap O’Rushes for second favouritism, but he sweated up beforehand and was keener than ideal through the early stages of the race. There wasn’t a great deal of pace on in the race, and that didn’t suit the son of Raven’s Pass at all on this first try at a mile and a half, Unsurprisingly, he was the keenest of the seven runners, with most of the others racing nicely and on an even keel.

Secret Number travelled well into the home straight, but he had nowhere to go just behind the leader from the three-furlong marker, and he got lit up again two furlongs out when he sought some racing room and got into a barging match with Havana Beat.

Cap O’Rushes and Spillway improved past him going inside the final quarter of a mile, but he picked up quite nicely once in the clear and was just building momentum when Spillway came back across him and cut him off half a furlong out. He was alongside Excess Knowledge at that point and had the more momentum of the two so, in spite of everything, he might well have gone very close without that final incident.

By Raven’s Pass and a half-brother to Librettist and Dubai Destination, he is not really bred for stamina, but he does appear to stay well. He stayed on well at the end of the Tercentenary Stakes over 10 furlongs at Royal Ascot, and he was only getting going again inside the final furlong here, on his first attempt at a mile and a half, when his run was cut off.

The Gordon Stakes is a good pointer to the final Classic. Last year’s St Leger winner Encke was only just touched off in the Gordon Stakes, 2010 St Leger winner Arctic Cosmos was third in the Gordon Stakes, and 2008 St Leger winner Conduit won the Gordon Stakes, as did 2006 St Leger winner Sixties Icon. Secret Number would be interesting now for the Leger if Godolphin chose to allow him go down that route. Obviously, they also have Cap O’Rushes for the Leger this year who ultimately won this race, so it may be that Secret Number will be kept to a mile and a half for now. In the short term, he could be a Great Voltiguer horse now, and he could be under-rated in that.

31st July 2013