CONNECTIONS of Colac district sprinter Secret Flyer concede they’re racing for second when the gelding comes up against champion Black Caviar tomorrow.
Secret Flyer is one of eight horses which will attempt to unseat Peter Moody’s unbeaten superstar in the $750,000 Lightning Stakes at Flemington.
The 1000-metre race down the famous front straight will be Secret Flyer’s first start since he saluted at Caulfield on July 16, having also won at the track on May 28.
But connections, including owner Anthony Mithen, the boss of Rosemont Stud at Ceres, have all but given up on beating Black Caviar, which is aiming for a 19th consecutive win.
Mithen said he hoped Secret Flyer would win owners “some prizemoney”, but admitted the $450,000 purse for first was all but out of the question.
Mithen said he and Yeo trainer Mark Young chose the Lightning Stakes for Secret Flyer’s return to racing because they thought the top sprinters would avoid it.
“We’d always had it as a kick-off point for him if he was up and going well – we had some injury setbacks late last year that he’s recovered better than expected from,” he said.
“So we thought we’ll line him up. It looked like from an Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket point of view they were going to be dominated by the Sepoys and Black Caviars.
“The Lightning was going to be that notch below without the superstar sprinters. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
“But what it has done is limit the field to only nine runners. All we have to do is beat one home to pick up some prizemoney.”
Secret Flyer will start from barrier eight – three wider than Black Caviar – and will have jockey Dwayne Dunn aboard.
The horse has attracted 58.5 kilograms and has three wins and a place from five starts first-up.
Mithen heaped praise on “meticulous horseman” Young for preparing Secret Flyer, which has battled arthritis in both front-leg joints for the past year.
“He needed an intense recovery program and Mark’s put the time and effort into that. We’re the lucky ones in all of this having Mark show so much care and attention to detail,” he said.
The Lightning Stakes will be the first time the two horses have clashed, but they are not complete strangers.
Secret Flyer and Black Caviar have won races at the same meeting on two occasions – firstly at Flemington on April 18, 2009, when the mare kicked off her history-making career, and again on August 22, 2009 at Moonee Valley.