Regally bred youngster Secret Spell will face a tough test when she lines up in tonight’s Group Two Ballarat Cup final, but the black bitch looks to be one of the leading contenders to take out the feature.
Trained by Kelly Bravo, the daughter of Batrim Bale and Wicked Witch has won eight of her 10 racetrack appearances so far including a dazzling win in October’s Group Three Cranbourne Puppy Classic.
The half- sister to boom sire Fabregas finished at the tail of the field in a heat of the Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park before scoring in an impressive 25.35 in her heat of Ballarat’s flagship race.
Bravo feels that she should improve off her heat performance going into the $60,000 to the winner final.
“She was probably a bit underdone last week, she had only had a run up the straight in between the race and her Melbourne Cup heat. She used the box well, she didn’t get out brilliantly but she mustered well”, Bravo said.
“She has pulled up really good, we couldn’t be happier with her. She is a pretty sound sort of bitch, although at this stage she has only been lightly raced, but touch wood everything is good with her at the moment.”
Bravo said that she is well drawn out wide, however the result of the race will depend on the early actions of the fastest qualifier, Adelaide Cup winner Allen Deed.
“She likes being off the track a little bit and can dictate things a bit more from out there.
“She is definitely fast enough and we were pretty happy when she came up with box eight. I think she is well drawn out there but I guess it depends on what Allen Deed does as well, he came out pretty good last week, and even Steven McKenna’s dog (Agent Jack- no.7).
“If she could run a place we would be wrapped because she is only a young girl.”
Bravo, who trains Secret Spell for Paul Westerveld, says that her dynamic pocket rocket has taken everyone by surprise by exceeding their original expectations on the track.
“She is really competitive. When we trial her she rarely trials anywhere near our best dogs but when you put her in a field she is a totally different dog.
“She probably took us all by surprise, when we started her we thought she would be a handy little bitch, but when we started putting her in fields that’s when we realised what she was capable of and that she is just a really competitive type of dog.”
Bravo, who has trained many top chasers such as Kilty Lad with her husband Brett, said that Secret Spell rates up with some of the quickest dogs she has trained.
“She is definitely up there with a lot of the faster ones we have had and I think as long as she stays happy, and that is the key to her because once she is happy her confidence grows, she will continue to go well.”
With outstanding bloodlines, there is no doubt that the 28.5 kilogram bitch will be highly valuable in the breeding barn but, for now, she will continue racing as she strives for further Group glory.
“I don’t think she will do much normal racing, we will probably just target her at the Group and feature races. I think Paul is keen to breed with her, there is plenty of interest there already, but as long as she is racing well we will keep going with her, it will just be lightly.”
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