Sacred Choice to Defend Derby Day Title – Myer Classic 2011 Nominations

Joseph Pride’s veteran mare Sacred Choice may have been found out in her recent spring runs, but the gallant six-year-old will back at Flemington this Saturday for another crack, out to defend her title in the 2011 Myer Classic.

One of four elite level features to open the Melbourne Cup Carnival for Victoria Derby Day, the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) is one of the premier fillies-and-mares-only classics of the year and has drawn 23 nominations.

Sacred Choice

Sacred Choice will face some classy rivals as she defends her title in the Myer Classic on Saturday

Among the list of Myer Classic 2011 early entries is reigning winner Sacred Choice, the daughter of Choisir having won the race in a romping four and a half length success over the now retired Typhoon Tracy on a Heavy (8) Flemington track 12 months ago.

After a successful autumn season that included another big win in the wet, this time on a Heavy (10) Randwick track in the Doncaster Mile, Sacred Choice has been out of form this spring failing to finish better than fifth in her four first-up runs.

Most recently she finished five lengths away ninth to Secret Admirer in the Epsom Handicap on October 1 in Sydney, but Pride remains hopeful that she can go back-to-back in the Myer Classic with a bit of luck on Saturday.

“She has probably been a little bit disappointing (this spring) but she’s coming out of the Epsom which is looking like a pretty hot form race now,” Pride said.

“She had to carry a big weight in the Epsom (56.5kg), she was giving four kilos to the subsequent Cox Plate winner (Pinker Pinker with 52.5kg ran second).

“She’s thereabouts but she just needs a wet track.”

The horse that got the better of Sacred Choice last-start, Secret Admirer is also set to contest the Myer Classic this weekend.

Grahame Begg’s talented Dubwai mare may have missed out on completing the rare Epsom – Cox Plate double this spring, but Sacred Choice was far from disgraced when finishing less than two lengths away fifth to upset Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker last Saturday.

Back against her own for the Myer Classic and back to the mile Secret Admirer comes right back into contention as she is undefeated over 1600 metres having also won the Group 1 Flight Stakes over the distance last year.

Of course, the big name Myer Classic entry this year is Gai Waterhouse’s brilliant mare More Joyous who races for the third time this season.

The five-time Group 1 winning daughter of More Than Ready resumed after a five month break with a credible first-up third to superstar sprinter Sepoy, who runs in the $1 million Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) this weekend, in the Manikato Stakes.

Back to her best last start More Joyous comes off a final-stride victory in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on October 15 carrying a hefty 58.5kg and back to the mile and back to 57kg on Saturday could be hard to run down.

Other notable 2011 Myer Classic Nominees include:

  • Lady Lynette (David & Scott Brunton) – Multiple Group 1 winning mare from Tasmania, ran a close third in the last on Cox Plate Day last Saturday, Flemington will suit better
  • Mosheen (Robert Smerdon) – Exciting filly has never run a bad race, won the Edward Manifold over this track and distance two starts ago before her second to the freakish Atlantic Jewel in the Thousand Guineas, also entered for the Wakeful Stakes on Saturday but connections unlikely to want another second to Atlantic Jewel there and she gets only 49kg in the Myer Classic
  • Yosei (Stuart Webb) – Scratched as the second Cox Plate emergency last week with a leg injury, this triple Group 1 winner has class but not the form and may not accept
  • Response (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra) – Comes off two close thirds at Group 2 level over 1200m and 1400m respectively, most recent beaten a length and a nose by More Joyous in the Tristarc where she carried 58.5kg, back to 57kg here, has form over the Flemington mile

The 2011 Myer Classic final field and barriers, as well as those for all the other Victoria Derby Day features, are due out on Wednesday and will be published here first at Races.com.au.

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2011 Myer Classic Nominations & Weights

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 DYSPHONIA Peter Snowden 12 57kg 100
2 FOXSTAR Guy Walter 21 57kg 87
3 GOON SERPENT David Jolly 16 57kg 95
4 GUISEPPINA (NZ) S. Ramsay & J. Ritchie 22 57kg 89
5 HURTLE MYRTLE Matthew Smith 11 57kg 104
6 LADY LYNETTE David & Scott Brunton 3 57kg 108
7 MAJESTIC MUSIC Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas 7 57kg 101
8 MOMENT IN TIME John P Thompson 17 57kg 97
9 MORE JOYOUS (NZ) Gai Waterhouse 1 57kg 121
10 RESPONSE Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra 6 57kg 110
11 SACRED CHOICE Joseph Pride 2 57kg 115
12 SKYERUSH Guy Walter 19 57kg 99
13 VARENNA MISS Tony Noonan 15 57kg 105
14 BANCHEE (NZ) John Sargent 14 56.5kg 89
15 BORN TO ROCK Michael Moroney 20 56.5kg 97
16 LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (NZ) Peter G Moody 10 56.5kg 105
17 MOONSHINE GIRL Dean Howard 23 56.5kg 60
18 RED TRACER Chris Waller 18 56.5kg 106
19 SECRET ADMIRER Grahame Begg 8 56.5kg 113
20 SISTINE ANGEL Andrew Noblet 13 56.5kg 102
21 YOSEI Stuart Webb 5 56.5kg 108
22 MOSHEEN Robert Smerdon 4 49kg 100
23 PANE IN THE GLASS John P Thompson 9 49kg 95