2023 Newmarket Handicap Results: In Secret Beats Lofty Strike, I Wish I Win Third
The three-year-olds dominated the Newmarket Handicap 2023 results at Flemington on Saturday with Godolphin‘s gun filly In Secret defeating Lofty Strike in the 150th edition of the famous sprint.
The James Cummings-trained daughter of I Am Invincible became the first filly to win the Group 1 $1.5 million Newmarket Handicap (1200m) since Sunlight (2019) with a powerhouse finishing burst to salute by one length third-up.
In a gallant second after finishing runner-up in the Oakleigh Plate last start was Julius Sandhu‘s Snitzel colt Lofty Strike ($10).
Peter Moody‘s Golden Eagle winner I Wish I Win, coming off a first-up second at the track in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, down the outside rail was the best of the older horses running on into third as the beaten $4.60 favourite in betting.
Also catching the eye powering home into fourth in a big spring return was Joe Pride‘s 58kg top-weight Private Eye ($7).
But all honours went to the Newmarket Handicap winner In Secret ($6) who enjoyed her second Group 1 Flemington win having previously beaten home the boys by two lengths last November in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
She won the Coolmore over the six furlongs down the straight off a 1400m run in Sydney when second to Jacquinot in the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes.
Cummings repeated a nearly identical campaign to get the filly back on top in Melbourne with In Secret having run a second-up third in a blanket finish at Randwick last time out in the Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m).
Dropping back to just 51.5kg and the 1200m she was airborne the final 300m in the Newmarket when given a perfectly timed ride by eleventh hour hoop Dean Holland.
“I’m just the lucky one who was able to ride light today and picked up the ride on one of Australia’s best sprinters,” Holland told Racing.com.
“She has a tendency to be a little bit slow away but James said if that happened to just leave her alone and trust that she’s got a good turn of foot.
“I rode her accordingly and she was just too good.
“I don’t think I pushed the button too soon but everything opened up.
“She accelerated really well. It’s very lonely out in the front there at the 200 down the straight.
“She was very tough. A rock fit horse like I said probably the best horse in the race.
“We got the job done, that’s the main thing.”
Originally Ms Jamie Kah was booked to ride In Secret in the day’s feature, but after falling in the Group 2 VRC Sires’ when her mount fell soon after the start earlier on the card she was sent to hospital with a concussion.
Holland picked up the ride and handled the occasion so well enjoying his second Group 1 winning ride nearly 13 years after his first.
“I’ve got to give him great credit for filling big shoes there,” Cummings said.
Holland had In Secret settled back second last before the gap opened up and the filly was able to let down and show off her scintillating turn of foot to hit the front 200m out and bolt home.
“Didn’t she just explode through the gap when it came?” Cummings said.
“She was just upon them from second last in the run. It was a proper race with Lofty Strike who’s been going so well this preparation.
“It was a proper Newmarket and with 51 and a half we just didn’t see when she was at her best and had clear running how they might beat her.
“She’s proved to be absolutely top shelf again.”
With the emphatic Newmarket Handicap victory In Secret answered the question of whether she was going as well as the spring, and Cummings has more in store for her yet.
“Two from three this preparation she can head straight to the TJ Smith in three weeks and look like not only a competitive chance but a big force in that feature,” he said.
“She was just able to descend upon them and demonstrate her dominance.
“She steps up to weight-for-age of course in three weeks against the best sprinters in the country, but she’s a very good sprinter this horse and we’re very, very grateful as a team to have her.”
The Group 1 $3 million TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) takes place at Randwick on April 1 on Day 1 of ‘The Championships’.
No horse has completed the Newmarket Handicap – TJ Smith interstate sprint double since Lankan Rupee (2014).
In Secret has firmed in all-in 2023 TJ Smith Stakes betting at Ladbrokes and currently sits top of the markets at $3.20.