The Milnerton-based combination of Vaughan Marshall and MJ Byleveld struck with their major SA Champions Season score of the current term when the beautifully bred Gr1 winner The Secret Is Out dug deep to win the R400 000 Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes at Greyville on Saturday.
On an afternoon where the black type was owned by the away trainers, the lightly raced and well related 4yo found her best finish under a determined MJ Byleveld – the second of the Avontuur-sponsored crew to win on the programme.
After tracking pacesetter Lunar Rush to the home straight in the 1400m feature, The Secret Is Out appeared to take an awkward step before finding her rhythm in the dash for home.
She hit the front early and showed heart and courage as Bernard Fayd’herbe unleashed Star Express down the wide outside.
In a thrilling duel to the wire, Byleveld kept the 7-1 shot The Secret Is Out at her task and she resisted the challenge of the Snaith Vodacom Durban July hopeful Star Express to win by a quarter length in a time of 84.39 secs.
Star Express is in prime form and it will be interesting to see where her route is plotted in the next seven weeks.
Glen Kotzen would have been thrilled by the return to form of Final Judgement, who appeared to be intimidated by Star Express late, but nevertheless stayed on well for third a further 1,25 lengths back.
Wendy Whitehead, who saddled Hard To Play, the impressive winner of the KZN Winter Challenge later in the day, would also have been happy with the show of her fourth-placed 40-1 shot, Twice As Smart. The Riverton bred daughter of Twice Over finished the best of the trio of 3yo’s.
The Secret Is Out was bred by the BBP Syndicate and was another feature winner on the day for Captain Al (Al Mufti). She is out of the outstanding six-time winning Secret of Victoria (Goldkeeper). That makes the winner a full sister to the top class All Is Secret who was also trained by Vaughan Marshall. A top family!
The Secret Is Out, who has had her health issues, took her win tally to a very respectable 6 with 4 places from her 13 starts. She has earned R1 172 275.
Gr2 Tibouchina Stakes (SAf-Gr2)
Greyville, South Africa, June 9, R400k, 1400m, turf, soft, 1.24.39
1 – THE SECRET IS OUT (SAF), 58.5, b f 4, Captain Al (SAF) – Secret Of Victoria (SAF) by Goldkeeper (USA). Owner Messrs G M Miller & B G Nelson; Breeder BBP Syndicate; trainer VH Marshall; jockey M Byleveld
2 – Star Express (SAF), 58.5, ch m 5, Silvano (GER) – Majestic Star (SAF) by Doowaley (IRE)
3 – Final Judgement (SAF), 58.5, ch f 4, Judpot (USA) – Final Claim (SAF) by Proclaim
Margins: 0.25, 1.25, 0.25