By Duane Fonseca
Dean Holland made the most of a spare ride as he guided James Cummings’ In Secret to a spectacular victory in Saturday's 1200m Group 1 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington. Holland was recruited to ride the 3yo I Am Invincible filly after Jamie Kah’s terrifying accident aboard Flyball in the Group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes earlier on the card.
Kah was knocked unconscious after the nasty fall and was rushed to hospital, leaving Cummings to seek the services of Dean Holland. Kah was one of two top Australian riders to be injured in the fall, Craig Williams, the other, hitting the turf after his horse tripped over the fallen Flyball. Holland gave the wellbeing of Kah and Williams priority over his own feelings after the race, despite this being the rider’s first Group One victory in almost 13 years.
“First of all, what I didn’t want to do was carry on, win, lose or draw with what happened with Jamie and Willo,” said Holland, who refused to celebrate the win. “My thoughts go out to them. I’m just the lucky one that was able to ride light today. James had no other options, and I picked up the ride on one of Australia’s best sprinters.
I hadn’t ridden for him before, but he was pretty relaxed. “James talked me through the race beforehand and showed me a few replays and things like that. He said she’s had the tendency to be a bit slow this prep, and if she is, leave her alone and trust her. She has a strong finish and I rode her accordingly and she was too good. We managed get the job done, that’s the main thing.”
GOOD BREAK, SLOW START
The pair broke well but In Secret, winner of the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes over course and distance in October, took him to third last in the group that raced against the far side rail. However, with 500m left to run, the pair started to make good progress, Holland cutting towards the centre of the track and In Secret finding her kick to hit the front 250m out.
She went clear, but Julius Sandhu’s runner-up Lofty Strike managed to reduce the deficit to a length under Craig Newitt. A head back in third was I Wish I Win for trainer Peter Moody and jockey Luke Nolen. Cummings added: “We went through the ride for 25 minutes and I showed him the replays. He’s a pretty bullish guy, he didn’t seem fazed at all for any minute with me.”