STEPPING up in distance on the roomier Bathurst circuit should be the key to Secret Liaison returning to winning form today at Bathurst.
That's the opinion of Dubbo trainer Michael Mulholland who will saddle up the lightly raced four-year-old in the Class 2 Plate over 1400m.
"On his run at Cowra you've got to think he's a good chance at Bathurst," Mulholland said. "And I'm confident he'll improve from Cowra.
"The 1400 metres may be a touch short for him but the roomier track at Bathurst with its uphill run home, should allow him to get to the line well."
Secret Liaison, purchased as a yearling by Kel Turner after initially being passed in at the Dubbo sales, heads to Bathurst third-up and nearing peak form.
The son of Volitant, with two wins and three placings from 12 starts, is coming off a last start 0.8 lengths fourth to Judge Smails over 1375m at Cowra on January 13 when he made good ground late.
"First up at Orange he was under done, it was like a barrier trial at the races," Mulholland said. "The short straight at Cowra just didn't suit him. He got to the line nicely, made up about four or five lengths on the winner. It's very hard to make up ground at Cowra from back in the field."
Mulholland describes Secret Liaison as still "a big baby".
"He's just turned four but he's still got a three-year-old's body. It's like he's a year behind himself.
"He's a very plain horse, nothing flash but he's got some ability.
"When he learns to really finish off his races and gets a bit stronger, he's going to make a nice horse.
"I think he'll eventually get over more ground."
Secret Liaison doesn't give away a lot in morning gallops Mulholland suggested.
"In track work he can bludge, other days he'll just lob along," he said. "He mainly does solid three-quarter pace work to get him right.
"His work's been good since Cowra. He's feeling good within himself."
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