Secret Protector romps home in Meydan Trophy
Secret Protector earmarked himself as a three-year-old with considerable potential when outclassing his rivals in the Meydan Trophy Sponsored By Emirates Holidays at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 11 February.
The War Front colt, making his turf debut in the extended nine-furlong contest following two UK All-Weather appearances as a juvenile, soon settled in third of the eight runners as Final Thought (Pat Cosgrave) and Leopardo cut out the running.
Secret Protector travelled strongly into the race and loomed up to hit the front a furlong and a half out, drifting right in the process.
The Charlie Appleby-trained runner soon took control under William Buick and powered further clear inside the final furlong, scoring by five and a half lengths and equalling the course record set by Ya Hayati in the same race in 2020.
Charlie Appleby said: “We were coming into this race with a bit of confidence on the back of Secret Protector’s homework and what he had produced on the track in the UK. We toyed with the idea of running him in the UAE 2,000 Guineas but he looked a lot happier on turf at home, so we decided to come here instead.
“He has done everything the right way round – travelled well and picked up well – and ticked all the boxes. We will take him back to the UK and look at his options there. Trip wise, I would say 10 furlongs is his maximum but he looks as though he would have the option of coming back in distance. William said he travelled so well tonight and he wouldn’t be worried about dropping back either.
“Hopefully, he will be towards the forefront of our three-year-old squad. He did nothing wrong in his two starts as a two-year-old and will have gained a lot of confidence this evening. Physically, he is improving week on week.
“We might look at something like the Feilden Stakes over nine furlongs at Newmarket. I think he will be a nice 10-furlong horse for 2021. He is a nice, progressive three-year-old and I don’t think we have seen where we will finish up with him yet.”
William Buick said: “Secret Protector is a very nice horse, who was obviously unexposed. He had two runs at Kempton Park last year and won very well second time out. There is still improvement in him – he is quite a big, robust horse and not quite the finished article yet.
“He has plenty of natural talent and we couldn’t have asked for a better race for him tonight. Everything worked out lovely and he did it very nicely.”