Durban – Trainer Duncan Howells has added blinkers to Secret Captain for the Grade 1 Daily News 2000 on Saturday.
The combination of Secret Captain’s form and his style of racing has Howells baffled and he is still not sure what his best trip is.
He pointed on the one hand to the Captain Al colt’s good sprint form, in which he has always displayed a good turn of foot, and then added: “When you watch this horse galloping he looks to be a horse who needs ten furlongs (2000m) and he is also a half-brother to Bela-Bela, but he seems to battle to quicken in races over further.”
Another confusing aspect is that in his races over 1600m and beyond, he stays on late after that initial flat-footedness.
Howells is thus hoping the blinkers will help him quicken.
He reckoned Secret Captain’s last run on the Polytrack over 1800m could be ignored. He said: “He ran way below his handicap mark and I don’t think it had anything to with the surface, rather it was the sharp corner and the short straight which didn’t suit him.”
That race was a case in point of the long-striding horse not quickening effectively, but then staying on late. He was beaten 2.35 lengths by Daily News second favourite Edict Of Nantes and now has to face him on 9kg worse terms.
However, the run must have been all wrong because in his previous start he had stayed on resolutely for a decent 1.75-length second in the Grade 2 Daisy Guineas on the Greyville turf, beating the likes of prominent Daily News contenders Zodiac Ruler, Copper Force, Horizon and Africa Rising. He will face all of those horses on the same terms.
“He definitely has the ability, otherwise I would not be running him here. He has been showing exceptionally good work and if he stays he will give a very good account of himself,” Howells said.
Secret Captain has been priced up at about 25-2 and stable jockey Keagan de Melo is up from pole position draw.– Gold Circle