A sharp piece of work from Secret Admirer has Grahame Begg believing his stable star is peaking at the right time for her attempt at a third Group One success on Epsom Handicap day.
Secret Admirer has gone winless since claiming last year's $500,000 Epsom (1600m) but drops back to handicap conditions after being placed at weight-for-age in her three starts this campaign.
The five-year-old mare is aiming to add to her big Randwick mile record, having won the Group One Flight Stakes and Epsom respectively at the corresponding meetings in 2010 and 2011.
"I think she's peaking at the right time," Begg said.
"Her coat has really come on in the past two weeks."
Secret Admirer tuned up for the Epsom with a sharp hitout on the Randwick course proper on Tuesday.
"She has trained on well since her last start, she's back to a handicap and we thought she galloped very, very well this morning," the trainer said.
"She did the normal short, sharp work and up the running she strode out really well."
Secret Admirer was second in the Warwick Stakes (1400m) and Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) before her third to the Chris Waller stablemates Shoot Out and Rangirangdoo in the Group One George Main (1600m).
"The thing with her is that we want to get her back winning," Begg said.
"We don't know whether it's been the pace of the race that's been coming against her a little bit, or the weight-for-age. The other day it was a bit farcically-run in the middle stages and then they really pinged. She only got beaten two-and-a-half lengths.
"We thought we'd give her a chance to get back to a handicap and it's at Randwick which she loves. She's also won a Group One on this day in the past two years."
Secret Admirer has been carrying 57kg under the weight-for-age conditions and drops to 54kg in the Epsom where she'll be ridden by James McDonald.
Shoot Out will be topweight with 58kg, half a kilogram more than Rangirangdoo.
Begg had no hesitation in naming that pair as the horses to beat.
"They are quality horses," he said.
Jockey Hugh Bowman is chasing his first Epsom win and believes his mount Shoot Out, who was second to More Joyous in this year's Doncaster, has a winnable weight.
"He's a genuine Group One horse and up there with the best I have ridden," Bowman said.