Sa­cred Elixir bound for the Vic­to­ria Derby

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - TIM RYAN, AAP

Kiwi trainer Tony Pike is bank­ing on the Caulfield Guineas form car­ry­ing Sa­cred Elixir to an­other New Zealand tri­umph in the Vic­to­ria Derby after he strength­ened his grip on favouritism for the three-year-old clas­sic.

Sa­cred Elixir, al­ready a Group I win­ner dur­ing his two-year-old sea­son, sailed to vic­tory in The Vase, one of the tra­di­tional warmups on Cox Plate day at Moonee Val­ley.

Shunted back to­wards the in­side as he tried to track Hugh Bow­man on Ve­ladero as they cor­nered for home, jockey Damian Lane spied an open­ing as Sa­cred Elixir burst to a halflength win from Mor­vada with So Si Bon one-and-a-quar­ter lengths back in third in the Group II race. But as with any Vic­to­ria Derby, how many of his ri­vals will run out the stamina-stretch­ing 2500 me­tres?

‘‘It’s hard to tell and I re­ally haven’t been through the form for the Derby and we just wanted to get through to­day first,’’ Pike said. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously the Guineas form is stand­ing up well with Good Stand­ing win­ning last week and this bloke to­day.

‘‘Hope­fully they’re just a lit­tle bit bet­ter than the rest.’’ And who is go­ing to ar­gue?

Given the Ki­wis’ lik­ing for plun­der­ing Aus­tralian three-yearold clas­sics, Sa­cred Elixir’s price will likely shorten through­out the week as Raf­fles Rac­ing seek an­other Aus­tralian Group I win.

A vic­tim of his own way­ward ways in the Caulfield Guineas last start, the blink­ers-less Sa­cred Elixir set­tled a lot bet­ter in the run and forged clear when the gap pre­sented in the tiny Moonee Val­ley straight.

‘‘Once he got clear he wob­bled around the cor­ner a lit­tle bit, but he was strong late which au­gurs well for next week,’’ Pike said. ‘‘I al­ways thought he was a Derby horse and he’s got a real stayer’s pedi­gree. But he’s had that abil­ity to win over shorter trips. He’s had the blink­ers off to­day, switched off and was strong to the line.’’

The Vase was also used a plat­form for last year’s Vic­to­ria Derby win­ner Tarzino, who flew late to run into the plac­ings at Moonee Val­ley be­fore toy­ing with his op­po­si­tion seven days later at Flem­ing­ton.

Satur­day’s win for the Tony Pike-trained Sa­cred Elixir has moved him into favouritism for the VRC Derby.

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