Owner Steve Parkin, whose horses run under his business Clipper Logistics, is a big supporter of British racing and his silver silks are a regular fixture across the country. Kevin has been fortunate enough to train for Steve for many years and although winners have been consistently sent out, that good horse just never materialised. After a few years break the partnership was struck up again and it looks as though the break may have brought around a bit better luck. There is now no secret about how much Kevin likes Secret Venture and he showed his class to win at the first time of asking in the 5f British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes at Leicester.
Although Kevin was not involved in buying the colt, that was done by Joe Foley on behalf of Steve Parkin, he had seen the son of Kyllachy at the DBS yearling sales. When he was told that the colt would be sent he was delighted as it was just the type of yearling that he would have bought himself. Kyllachy has been a producer of quality progeny for years and Secret Venture was just what would expect, a strong, powerful looking horse with an athletic walk. Once he began his work it was clear that these characteristics would stand him in good stead. From early on he showed that nothing fazed him and he took all his work in his stride. With this professional attitude it didn’t take too long for the colt to come to hand but rather than rush him, Kevin gave Venture as much time as needed to strengthen right up. One final piece of impressive work convinced Kevin that the time was right and he was straight into the entry book to try and find the most suitable race.
There was one decision to make and that would be what trip to start off over. It seems that 6f will be his trip but Kevin also felt that at the right track he could get away with 5f. Ultimately Leicester was chosen with the uphill finish making the minimum trip a bit more testing and proving a happy medium between the two trips. There would be 8 runners lining up for the contest and with little form to go on it was quite a tricky race to weigh up. Jamie Spencer is one of the best jockeys when it comes to educating youngsters and he was quickly snapped up when Danny Tudhope, Steve’s number 1, was committed to the favourite Murqaab.
The form of Murqaab was the best on show and Ballistic had run in a Newmarket Novice early in the season finishing fifth but apart from that it looked like there were a few newcomers that were well thought of. Little separated the field in the market and so it felt like it could be a fairly useful race. Secret Venture was well away from the stalls, a little too well which meant Jamie just had to apply the brakes for a stride or two. Thankfully the experienced Robert Cowell pair quickly went forward to set the early pace which gave Venture a lead. Jamie quickly tracked over to chase the leaders with Venture immediately settling into a nice rhythm about a length back.
Racing through the first couple of furlongs and the leaders were not hanging around. Allowed an easy lead the pair moved on and opened up by a couple of lengths. It was the newcomers Secret Venture and Blyton who were giving chase and both travelled well despite their inexperience. The favourite was seemingly a little outpaced and sat almost last with plenty of work to do come the latter stages.
Jamie Spencer rides everything with confidence and this style is perfect for juveniles. As they passed the halfway stage Venture was still a few lengths down to the leaders but Jamie was allowing him time to find his feet before the final push. Secret Venture lengthened his stride with ease and started to edge closer as the leaders paid for their earlier exploits. Moving past the 2f marker and Venture had moved through smoothly to now join in at the front, with fellow newcomers Blyton and Jack’s Point sweeping through with him. This trio quickly asserted their authority and pulled clear from the favourite who couldn’t match them. With just 1 1/2f to run the ground began to rise upwards and now the inexperienced trio would settle down to battle it out. One of them was going to make a winning debut but it was going to take a battle to do so.
Victory was in sight for all three jockeys but they also knew that their mounts were not the battle hardened veterans that could be asked serious questions. Jamie is always wary of this riding juveniles and his stick was to be a footnote in this as it stayed firmly by his side. Kevin loves a first time out winner but it never comes at the expense of a nice experience for the juveniles, a third with no ill effects is better than a win and nasty experience. Grabbing hold of the reins, Jamie was getting a good response from Venture as he was finding more and more. There was still nothing to separate the trio as they raced deep inside the final furlong. The lead changed hands with every nod of the head and it would take a brave man to try and call a winner from the three. Within the final 50 yards it was Secret Venture and Blyton who just edged ahead of Jack’s Point and as they did it was head bob for head bob. The line closed in fast and as they flashed past together it was very close. Initially it seemed that Secret Venture had just lost out but as the photo finish was examined closer and closer the odds began to swing. The judge called out the result connections were hoping for and confirmed that Secret Venture had made a winning debut.
It was great to get a win for Steve Parkin at the first time of trying. Kevin has always thought a lot of the 2 year old so to see him confirm this promise was a very nice feeling. The trio who pulled clear do look above average individuals and this race could work out to be quite smart form. Jamie gave Venture a brilliant ride and the colt showed all his professionalism to travel smoothly and then battle when needed. It was a hands and heels ride which makes the performance all that more impressive. He will improve a ton for this experience and right now there is a possibility that he could head to Royal Ascot. He will certainly be better over 6f so whether something like the Coventry suits or the stiff 5f of the Norfolk Stakes will be something that connections can discuss. A smart performance from a potentially smart juvenile.