Sakhee’s Secret made his debut in group I company a successful one, powering home from tenth under regular rider Steve Drowne to win by a half-length. It was the 3-year-old colt’s fifth win in seven lifetime starts, and his third straight stakes win. His two previous stakes victories were in listed company.
Trainer Hughie Morrison has been very conservative with the son of Sakhee, carefully moving him through the handicap and listed ranks before making the big leap into group I company. It was the second July Cup win for the trainer, following the 2005 victory of Pastoral Pursuits.
“You can never quite believe they are that good when you only go the listed route, and this was quite a performance to go up four grades,” the trainer told reporters afterwards. “I am an advocate of moving up the system, and we decided not to go for Royal Ascot and run at Salisbury instead.”
South African runner Drayton set a hot pace from the break and dueled with Dandy Man throughout the first four furlongs before the former weakened with two furlongs left to run.
With most of the 18-horse field fanned out across the track, Bentley Biscuit, Marchand d’Or, and Red Clubs joined Dandy Man to battle for the lead. Sakhee’s Secret and Dutch Art were making their way from the rear of the pack, and Sakhee’s Secret hit the front with just under a furlong left to win going away.
Dutch Art stayed on strongly to hold second, 1 1/4-lengths in front of Red Clubs. Time for the six furlongs was 1:10.77 over the good to firm turf.
Sakhee’s Secret was bred in England by his owner, Bridget Swire. He was produced from the Secreto’s mare, Palace Street.
With his victory in the Darley July Cup, Sakhee’s Secret became his sire’s first group I winner. Sakhee was a multiple champion in England and France, capturing the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and Juddmonte International (Eng-I) before finishing second to Tiznow in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) in 2001.