Determined filly Secret Spirit claimed her fourth black type race on the spin to take another important step yesterday toward her group one goal.
The diminutive star from the Matamata stable of Lance O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott overcame a tough run to extend her winning sequence with victory in the group three Manuka Doctor Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie.
Secret Spirit won the Great Northern Stakes on the Auckland course last season before she added the Ryder Stakes to her record and two runs back she opened her three-year-old account with victory in the O'Leary's Fillies' Stakes.
"She's not really blooming or blossoming in the coat and she looks a bit rough, but she's a real racehorse," O'Sullivan said.
"At the 300 I thought today's not going to be her day and she changed legs and she just kept coming.
"She'll go to the Soliloquy Stakes in four weeks' time and then on to the 1000 Guineas.
"She won two barrier trials on firm footing and while she has been winning on rain-affected tracks we think on top of the ground she will still be competitive."
Secret Spirit, a $10 chance in the early group one NZB 1000 Guineas market, was again ridden by Craig Grylls and they settled on the fence from an inside gate.
"She jumped well, but they absolutely walked early and it was a muddling run race," he said.
"They all took off at the 600 and I was lucky nothing was on my outside and I got off the rail."
Secret Spirit was widest in to the straight and she finished off resolutely to beat Massa Lu and the maiden Thunder Down Under.
NZ Racing Desk