Secret State toughs it out in King George V Stakes
Secret State maintained his progressive profile as he notched a third straight win with a resolute display in the King George V Stakes on day three of Royal Ascot, Thursday, 16 June.
Stepping up to a mile and a half for the first time, the half-brother to Line Of Duty was always towards the head of affairs, settling in third on the inside rail as Franz Strauss set steady fractions in front.
Secret State stayed on to dispute the running under William Buick two furlongs out and established a narrow advantage shortly after when Franz Strauss started to fade. The Dubawi colt gamely found more in front and withstood the late charge of Deauville Legend for a head verdict in the heritage handicap.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “We had a good draw with Secret State and were keen to get a nice pitch. It is one of those races that can be hard work if you are in the second half of the field, so our plan was always to be in the first half.
“The pace was steady enough, so you knew you had to be in the right position when they started quickening, and he got first run on them.
“He is a horse going the right way. We could be bold enough to say he might work up into something like the G2 Great Voltigeur, stepping up from handicaps to Pattern company. His profile won't look out of place making that move and I wouldn't like to say where our ceiling is yet.
"It is an exciting race to win as well. My first Royal Ascot winner was a King George V and it is a race I always like to target.”
William Buick said: “I didn't expect to be where I was in the race, but Secret State jumped so well and, from that start, you're not going to take him back.
“In a race like this over a competitive trip, they either stay or they don't. I was quite close to the pace, but Frankie Dettori on Franz Strauss got a breather into us and slowed the pace down. When my horse got a spin on the rail, I took it. He was in front half a furlong too soon, but he battled really well.
“Once he could feel them coming, he went again. His brother Line Of Duty was the same. They are a great family and this was a great plan by Charlie. It is early days for him yet, but he has done nothing but improve and could make up into a smart type.”