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‘Secret’ to Melbourne Cup success

Champion trainer Jason Thompson will be striving to rewrite Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup history on Friday night when Aussie Secret exits Box 1 in the world’s greatest race.

Thompson is one of three trainers with three Melbourne Cup trophies on their mantelpiece, courtesy of Light Of Fire (1994), Got A Moment (2012) and Black Magic Opal (2013), while wife Seona was victorious with Aston Dee Bee (2017).

Underlining Thompson’s remarkable Cup record, Aussie Secret, which sits on the third line of TAB betting at $8, will be the Pearcedale mentor’s 20th Cup finalist and but for unprecedented circumstances he would have had 21.

“I don’t think anybody wanted to draw directly outside Aussie Secret.”

Thompson prepared two of last Friday’s eight winners, Aussie Secret (29.57sec) and Typhoon Sammy (29.65sec), however the latter missed out as the slowest qualifier due to a dead-heat in an earlier run-off.

“What do you do? I think it’s pretty fair to be honest,” Thompson said.

“I wasn’t sure what the rule was and just assumed it would be a ballot.

“Unfortunately it was one of ours that missed out and it’s disappointing when you’re on the receiving end. But there was no way to keep everyone happy.

“We would have loved to have two finalists but it is what it is and the runner we have is a legitimate chance.”

That runner is Aussie Secret, a son of Bernardo  bred and raced by Robert Bean and the winner of 31 of his 60 starts.

The 66th Melbourne Cup was turned on its head at last Sunday morning’s box draw when Aussie Secret, a quick beginner that races off the fence, drew Box 1, setting the scene for an intriguing first 50 metres.

“I don’t think anybody wanted to draw directly outside Aussie Secret,” Thompson quipped.

“The draw has made it a very hard race to bet on.

WATCH: Aussie Secret (2) set up a decisive mid-race lead in his Melbourne Cup heat, leading all-the-way in 29.57sec to give trainer Jason Thompson his 20th Cup finalist.

“Everyone knows his racing pattern and the other thing is that he’s a good and reliable beginner.”

While his racing habits would suggest otherwise, Aussie Secret has an excellent record from ‘the red’, winning six from 10, while he’s also won four of seven from Box 2, including his last two starts at Sandown.

“He has a pretty good record from Box 1 and at Sandown (five from nine),” Thompson said.

“He’s won his last three starts at Sandown and his last two from low draws.

“He’s going to need a lot of luck if he’s going to win the race but I was happy to draw ‘the red’. When you have a speed dog you’d much rather be drawn underneath the other speed in the race, so you’re the one holding them out.

“Realistically, do I think he can win the race? Probably not, but he could pinch it.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE ACTION
Thrill of the Chase with Molly Haines, Gareth Hall and George Farrugia on 7Two and via The Watchdog app from 6-7pm.
– Comprehensive live telecast trackside with Jason Lincoln, Marc Ohlmus and Jason Adams on Sky Racing, watchdog.grv.org.au and via The Watchdog App from 7pm.
– Behind the scenes Twitter coverage with ‘@SandownDogs’ and ‘@WatchDogRacing’.
– Regular updates with Trent Langskaill on RSN Racing and Sport (927 AM).
– Coverage of TAB Melbourne Cup Final with Andrew Copley on 3AW (693 AM).

“We know he’s not the quickest dog in the race, but when you’re in front they’ve got to catch you.

“He can be a very hard dog to get past because he moves out coming out of the boxes and then cuts back in when he gets to the corners.

“If he leads and there’s trouble behind him, which he could cause himself, his 29.40-odd will be thereabouts. We’d be rapt if he could run a place.”

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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