Haydock: Group success at last for Pearl Secret

PEARL SECRET and George Baker win

Pearl Secret (orange cap) wins the Temple Stakes

  PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)  

Report: Haydock, Saturday

betfred.com Temple Stakes (Group 2) 5f, 3yo+

PEARL SECRET finally got the Pattern success he so deserved following a few injury-hit seasons and near-misses at the top level.

However having hit the front, it looked for one moment as if he was going to miss out again as Jack Dexter came with a final flourish on the stands’ side but David Barron’s sprinter held on by a diminishing neck at odds of 10-1.

Jack Dexter took the runner-up spot, while Wind Fire, who had little luck in running, ran on strongly to claim third.

Despite being a six-year-old, Pearl Secret was having only his 15th career start here. Injuries meant he had missed the latter half of the 2012 season and nearly all of 2013, but given his injury problems he has done well to come back and continue his progression.

“He ran in France a fortnight ago and ran badly, though I know he was stuck on the wide outside and the ground would be plenty quick enough for him,” said Barron.

“We haven’t had time to do a lot with him but he did a good bit of work on Monday morning.”

The son of Compton Place was second in this event last year, when conditions were pretty desperate compared to this, and he was also a close-up third in the King’s Stand two years ago, so he has always been knocking on the door when fit.

Winning jockey George Baker thinks there is more to come too: “It was ideal,” he said. “They went a good strong gallop and he relaxed into a nice rhythm. He was a bit idle when he got to the front but he is some horse on his day.

“In these top-class five-furlong races, I think if they get a bit of rain around then there is a real good one in him.”

This was another big-race win for Baker, who is becoming one of the more reliable jockeys in the weighing room, and he gave Pearl Secret a peach of a ride here, producing him beautifully on the outside as most of the other riders packed up on the stands’ rail. It meant little room for manoeuvre for Fergal Lynch on Jack Dexter or Paul Hanagan on Wind Fire and Hanagan must of wished he hadn’t waited so long for a gap to appear, as when one did the bird had flown with Baker and Pearl Secret.

“It looked to be a troubled passage up the rail and I thought I would keep it simple up the middle and luckily it paid off,” said Baker.

“I won the race three years ago on Bated Breath and that was a spare ride and I was lucky enough to get another good spare ride today. There are a heap of meetings on Irish Guineas day and that gives the likes of me an opportunity to pick up a good spare and I appreciate it.”

Pearl Secret could step up to Group 1 company now, although conditions will be a factor. “He will be in all the big sprints but the ground wouldn’t want to be any quicker than it was today,” said Barron.

 

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