Jim Taylor is optimistic Secret Nova can turn the tables on Military Reign when they lock horns in the Subscribe To The Perth Racing Newsletter Handicap (1000m) at Belmont on Saturday.
Taylor has a high opinion of Military Reign, prepared by Darren McAuliffe, and considers the talented filly to be challenging for feature races at the Ascot carnival later this year.
Military Reign has been in a rich vein of form this campaign, posting three wins and two placings from five starts including the Marjorie Charleson Classic (1200m) in April.
The Universal Ruler filly underlined her promise when she sprinted to an all-the-way victory at Belmont two weeks ago, leaving Secret Nova 1 ¼ lengths in her wake.
However; Secret Nova, who was coming off three consecutive wins when last in work, chased hard and lost no admirers in defeat, her first run back since February.
Taylor is pinning his faith in improved fitness and a weight turnaround to boost Secret Nova’s bid to go one better and add to her $221,475 in stake earnings.
The Bullsbrook trained rates Military Reign as the hose to beat but says carrying 58.5kg, a 2.5kg rise on his last-start victory, could prove to be a critical factor.
“Obviously Military Reign is going to be very hard to beat, but we are meeting it 2kg better,” Taylor said on TABradio.
“We were first up the other day and sat just off her but, we might go forward and test a filly who is carrying 58.5kg.
“We might put the test on her before the corner and if she is too good than she is just too good for us.
“We won’t be letting her get away again, but we were first up and we are going to be a lot fitter this time.
“Military Reign is obviously the class runner, but it has a lot of weight and she is only a three-year-old filly.
“She is probably going to be a carnival horse and we will see if Secret Nova is up to it and can test her.”
Pike and Military Reign, who holds TAB favouritism at $3, combine from gate three.
Secret Nova, rated a $6.50 chance, will jump from gate six for jockey, Jason Brown.
Taylor is keen to see how Drupa measures up in the Weddings At Ascot Handicap (2200m), a race that includes the red-hot, Star Exhibit, who is a $2.15 favourite to make it a winning hat trick
Drupa, a Trade Fair gelding, displayed good signs when he pushed My Magic Miss to a short-neck second over 2100m at Belmont on May 28, his first trip beyond a mile.
”He is a good winded horse and I always thought he would stay,” Taylor said.
“But this is obviously a lot stronger race and real Saturday company.
“Star Exhibit looks a bit better, but we should be in the placings.”
Star Exhibit will carry 56kg with the claim of Clint Johnston-Porter.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli