SECRET TRAVELLER's consistency, since Harry Jaghai removed the tongue tie and added cheekpieces, is hard to ignore, even though the gelding has the handicaps against him in this afternoon's fifth race - particularly a 10lb weight swing in favour of old rival MUSKETOON.
To make matters worse, SECRET TRAVELLER is surrounded by two sets of stablemates in the 1500-metre event, a trio of Anthony Nunes runners - A.P.I., BRUCE WAYNE and MUSKETOON - in addition to Gary Subratie's pair, PLEASANT SECRET and REGAL PROSPECTOR.
What SECRET TRAVELLER has going for him is leading rider apprentice Anthony Thomas, a quick learner who won aboard the country's best sprinter and stayer in one afternoon, landing the Caribbean Sprint and Superstakes with CHACE THE GREAT and SHE'S A MANEATER, respectively.
Thomas' two-kilo bug and cool head will serve him well aboard SECRET TRAVELLER, who ran a brave 1400-metre race against Wayne DaCosta's classic-bound three-year-old, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, on January 27.
SECRET TRAVELLER dashed out of the gate with 53.0 kilos and duelled SARAH LEE for the first five furlongs in splits of 23.3, 34.2, 46.2 and 58.0. WITHOUT EXCEPTION pounced off the turn with 50.5 kilos and had to be ridden out before pulling away in the last furlong for a three-length win.
SARAH LEE returned last Saturday to frank the form of that race, making all at 1100 metres to beat late-closing ICTUS in 1:06.2, carrying 54.0 kilos.
Thomas was aboard WITHOUT EXCEPTION, watching SECRET TRAVELLER and SARAH LEE go at it on January 27. As long as he doesn't get drawn into a speed duel with A.P.I., he should consider himself the leader while keeping an eye on A.P.I.'s stablemates, MUSKETTON and BRUCE WAYNE, who will be closing from off the pace.
Ridden smartly, SECRET TRAVELLER will get the distance, having finished second behind TIME FOR ARMS at a mile on December 23, finishing ahead of DILIGENT, who returned to convincingly beat both MUSKETOON and A.P.I. in his next race.