Artie Schiller mare Secret Liaison earned her second stakes success when she outslugged her opposition in the Listed Lord Stakes (1612m) at Mornington.
Secret Liaison went more than 12 months without a win after her Listed Twilight Glow Stakes victory during her three-year-old season but has raced in great heart since returning to the winner’s list at Moonee Valley on November 24.
The four-year-old carried her good form to Caulfield before finishing second at Flemington to earn a shot at another stakes victory.
Co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra booked Group 1-winning rider Ben Melham to partner Secret Liaison at Mornington. Melham subsequently gave his mount a textbook ride to claim the $120,000 event.
Melham parked Secret Liaison just off the speed in fifth spot, about four lengths from the lead, where the mare travelled sweetly until the jockey asked her to improve from the 600 metres.
Secret Liaison worked into the race from the 600 metres before digging deep over the final furlong to score by a half-neck to post her third win from her past four starts.
“Just getting her confidence back at Moonee Valley helped her and confidence is a wonderful thing,” Zahra said. “She has held her condition really well.
“She normally gets back a bit but these last couple of runs, she has raced a bit closer and just towed into the race like she did again today.”
Secret Liaison is one of a multitude of stakes winners Ellerton Zahra Racing has prepared for long-time stable supporter, Contract Racing’s David Moodie.
“David is a breeder and that is what you have got to target when planning her preparations and Mathew should take a lot of the credit for finding the right race for her,” Zahra said.
The win was Secret Liaison’s fifth from 22 starts and the $72,000 winner’s cheque took her prizemoney tally to more than $338,000.
Click here to see a replay of Secret Liaison’s Lord Stakes success.