Private Secretary continued his rise through the ranks to confirm his place on trainer John Gosden’s team for Royal Ascot with a taking success in the British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.
With an outing in the Investec Derby at Epsom on Saturday week having been ruled out, the son of Kingman warmed up for the Royal meeting when completing a hat-trick of wins in the Listed prize.
Settled at the rear of the field by Frankie Dettori during the early stages of the one-mile-three-furlong prize, the 11-10 favourite worked his way into contention before asserting close to the line to score by a neck from Spanish Moon.
The winner was introduced at 6-1 for the King Edward VII Stakes and 14-1 for the St Leger by Paddy Power.
Dettori said: “I had a bad draw so I had to sit last and I was further out of my ground than I wanted to be, but he showed a good turn of foot and won really well in the end.
“He loved the ground and is maturing. He will be a good King Edward VII horse in three weeks’ time. A mile and a half will be ideal.
“I think he will be better on a track like Ascot, but he is learning all the time and he has got a good turn of foot, which is a good weapon to have.”
A step up to a mile and a half for the King Edward VII Stakes is expected to suit Private Secretary, according to connections.
Assistant trainer Thady Gosden said: “He was drawn wide and was pretty slowly away, so there was no point rushing him up there.
“We knew he would hopefully stay the trip well enough and have enough gears to get up there if he could in the straight.
“He is horse that is progressing a lot and every run he has come on for it – mentally he is maturing as well.
“They didn’t go to quick up front, which helped him in the straight.”
He added: “He is out of nice staying family, but he is by Kingman, so I think a mile-six (for the St Leger) will be a bit far, but hopefully he will stay the mile and a half well at Ascot.”
Royal Ascot may be just around the corner, but James Tate has one eye on the Qatar Goodwood Festival for Dream Shot.
Despite lacking the experience of most of his rivals, the Dream Ahead colt warmed to the task nicely under Jamie Spencer to wear down likely-looking winner Spanish Angel in the Thames Materials Muck Away EBF Novice Auction Stakes.
Tate, speaking away from the track, said of the 7-2 winner, “He has always shown a bit of talent at home, along with signs of quirkiness. I think he was a bit of a boy before the race, although he did it well in the race and showed loads of speed.
“Obviously with the signs of inexperience and quirkiness I think you would want to have another race somewhere quiet before stepping him up, as you wouldn’t want him playing up at Ascot.
“With him being a five-furlong winner at Goodwood you might be able to dream of bringing him back later in the year for the Molecomb.”
Age Of Wisdom (10-1) showed the benefits of a recent spell hurdling when gaining revenge on Knight Crusader in the thamesmaterials.com Handicap, to complete a double for Harry Bentley.
Trainer Gary Moore said: “I wasn’t quite sure if the ground would have enough juice in it for him. He is a strange horse, as he is a bit of a character. I think jumping has strengthened him up.”
Having chased home 1000 Guineas third Qabala on her penultimate start last season, Desirous (9-4) made a winning return to complete Bentley’s brace in the Thames Materials Land Restoration Fillies’ Handicap.
Bentley said of the Ralph Beckett-trained winner: “She did it well and I was really pleased with how the race panned out. She got a nice tow into it. We just had to wait for the gaps and once they came she quickened up nicely.”
It was close to being the last chance saloon for La Maquina, who gained his first win on turf when coming with a thundering late run to pick off Wufud in the Thames Materials Recycled/Primary Aggregates Handicap.
Trainer George Baker said of his 6-1 scorer: “We saddled him away down the racecourse stables to keep a lid on him. He is just a bit of a confidence horse. He won well at Kempton first time out and was not quite right last time.
“He has just been bubbling under and that was a relief. Today was a bit of an acid test – if he had let us down today it really would have been time to draw stumps.”