The Brett and Kelly-Bravo trained bitch tasted success in last year’s Group 3 Cranbourne Puppy Classic (520 metres), before securing the biggest win of her life in last month’s Group 1 Hume Cup (600 metres) at The Meadows.
Following that triumph, Secret Spell qualified for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515 metres), finishing down the track behind champion duo Dyna Double One and Fernando Bale in the $420,000-to-the-winner event.
After the Cup, owner Paul Westerveld retired the daughter of Bartrim Bale and Wicked Witch, before having a change of heart and returning her to Bravo’s kennels for a final campaign in pursuit of glory.
Secret Spell, $5 with Bet365 to take out Thursday’s final, returned to the track for the first time in her heat last week, running a respectable second behind NSW star No Donuts. Kelly Bravo said she expecting plenty of improvement out of her bonny bitch heading into this week’s $25,000-to-the-winner feature.
“We are expecting her to run a nice race, she is 100 per cent and she is feeling really well,” Bravo explained.
“She did it tough last week and she went into the heat a little bit underdone. She was much the same going into the Hume Cup series – she hadn’t had a 600 going into the heats – so I am expecting her to improve – she should be a lot better for the run this week.”
Bravo said she isn’t too concerned about the squeeze draw, with Secret Spell, a winner of 22 of her 41 starts with $264,605 in career earnings, generally a quick beginner.
“The box draw isn’t the end of the world and I actually don’t mind her there as long as she begins – there isn’t a heap of pace around her.
“Realistically she is a front runner, she would have to be out in front whether she had drawn the one or the eight – and I actually don’t mind the middle boxes (at Sandown) – they aren’t too bad the way they are positioned – if you can begin well the centre is actually the best spot to be.
“Hopefully she gets out well without any hassles and she will be right in it.”
The equal favourites for the Sir John Dillon Memorial are Lithgow Panther (box one) and Lamia Bale (box seven) which are both $4 to score. In a very open race, No Donuts (box four), Secret Spell and Blazin’ Bomber (box six) are all on the next line of betting on the $5 quote.
Team Bravo will be aiming for a big night, with Unlawful Entry tackling a heat of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand in Tassie and some of the team, including sizzling speedsters Megan Keeping and Noakis Girl, heading to Warrnambool.