The daughter of Husson, a $32,000 purchase by trainer Greg Hickman at the 2011 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale, unleashed a devastating turn of speed from last at the 300m to reel in her rivals with a final stride victory.
An emotion Hickman said the narrow win was long overdue and followed five feature race placings in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland since her last victory at Randwick in June 2015.
“It certainly was a heart-stopper, the connections of the other horse (I Am Zelady) thought they’d won and I wasn’t so sure but then the photo went up and it looked clear that we’d got it,” Hickman said.
“We’d been happy with her preparation and she’d travelled here, there and everywhere so I’m just happy that she’s won.”
A pre-race re-plating by the farrier proved no disadvantage for Private Secretary who, after jumping evenly from barrier 17, was allowed to relax with cover for jockey Ben Melham at the rear of the field.
While many expected the seven-year-old to display her customary sprint over the concluding stages of the race, punters were left in awe of the mare who overcame a near 10-length deficit at the top of the straight.
The $600,000 winners’ cheque took Private Secretary’s career prizemoney earnings past $1 million, much to the delight of her large group of owners.
After looking the winner for much of the final furlong, the Joe Pride-trained I Am Zelady ($15) had to settle for second place, while the Robert Heathcote-trained Bidii Babe defied her starting price of $51 to claim third place.