A gritty win against her mainly older rivals in the Dominion Post sponsored New Zealand St Leger Trial (2100m) has set talented three-year-old filly Shared Secrets up for a tilt at a Group One title next month.
The Mark Oulaghan trained, bred and part-owned filly had finished an eye-catching fourth in the Gr. 3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham before tackling Saturday's contest for the three & four-year-olds at Otaki. Settled beautifully just off the speed by rider Masa Tanaka, the Nadeem filly lobbed along comfortably before issuing her challenge early in the run home.
Tackled by a trio of assailants, including race favourite Rock On, in the closing stages Shared Secrets fought bravely to seize the initiative back in the shadows of the post to record her maiden victory at just her fourth start.
Oulaghan is a happy man as he sets his sights on the Gr. 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks next month for his charge.
"She went a beauty at Trentham in the Desert Gold so we thought we might have a go at the Oaks with her," he explained.
"We really just needed to know whether she would stay or not so we put her in the race on Saturday to see what would happen and I think we got the answer we were looking for."
Oulaghan admitted he thought the filly was beaten when headed in the home straight before she kicked back for the win.
"Halfway down the straight I was pretty sure they were going to swamp her," he said.
"Those were horses that have won a few races between them so she showed plenty of heart to out-finish them like that.
"Masa got off and said she still did a few things wrong but was going away from them again at the post.
"I think we have her right where she needs to be so she can go straight into the Oaks now without another run."
Shared Secrets is out of unraced O'Reilly mare Eva Kelly who is from prolific winner Semper Fidelis who numbered the Gr. 3 Trentham Stakes (2400m) amongst her 10 career victories.