Pearl Secret (yellow): starts to gain the upper hand in the Scurry StakesPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Nunthorpe aim for unbeaten Pearl Secret
Report: Sandown, Saturday
Novae Bloodstock Insurance Scurry Stakes (Listed) 5f, 3yo
EXCITING sprinter Pearl Secret maintained his unbeaten record when edging out plucky front-runner Free Zone at Sandown on Saturday and is likely to be aimed at the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes in August.
Despite failing to get any cover in the early stages, the 1-3 favourite travelled kindly for Richard Hughes and looked to score a shade cosily for trainer David Barron after knuckling down well to secure the win.
A winner at Doncaster and York already this season, Pearl Secret's task was made considerably easier after Ballesteros was ruled out on the morning of the race.
Free Zone, who had looked a little anxious in the stalls, hit the gates running and established a clear lead in the early stages, with Hughes trying his best to anchor the favourite behind runners.
However, Hughes had to sit and suffer on the outside but he did get the horse settled.
Moving through stylishly to take the lead within the final furlong, Pearl Secret looked set to score with something in hand, only for Free Zone to battle back under Royston Ffrench.
But Hughes never looked unduly concerned, with Pearl Secret pulling out a bit extra to hold the runner-up close home.
David Redvers, racing manger to owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, said: "We're just trying to get him to grow up as quickly as possible and he was an awful lot better than anything else in the field."
The winner, registering a first success at Listed level, holds an entry in next month's Group 1 Darley July Cup, although connections are favouring a tilt at York's Nunthorpe Stakes the following month.
Redvers added: "He's in the July Cup bit the Nunthorpe could be his main aim."