There will be no title defense in the Doncaster Mile 2012 for Joe Pride’s quality mare Sacred Choice, the six-year-old having been retired her disappointing last place effort in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on the weekend.
The daughter of Choisir out of Sir Tristram mare Sacred Habit failed to beat home any of her eight rivals when she crossed 18 lengths away from the winner Shoot Out the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, prompting connections to make the decision to retire her.
The Chipping Norton was Sacred Choice’s 39th career start, but she will not get the chance to race in No. 40.
Over the years she has won just nine of those starts, placing second or third in another 11, but two of her nine victories have been at elite level.
A known mudlark Sacred Choice first broke her Group 1 maiden in the spring of 2010 when she put an easy four and a half lengths on former Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy in the Myer Classic (1600m) on a Heavy (8) Flemington track.
She became a dual Group 1 winner two starts after her third in last year’s Chipping Norton Stakes when she encountered a favourable Heavy (10) Randwick course in April and won the 2011 Doncaster Mile by two lengths over Love Conquers All.
“To beat the boys in what is probably the best mile race in the world was probably the highlight for me,” Pride said looking back at the Doncaster Mile victory.
After a second behind Hurtle Myrtle when defending her title in the Myer Classic last Melbourne Cup Carnival, Sacred Choice was sent for a spell.
She had three runs back in 2012 but failed to finish better than seventh.
Instead of keeping her in work with fingers crossed they will encounter another muddy track before the autumn’s out, Pride and Sacred Choice’s owners have retired her immediately.
“She has said to us ‘no more’,” Pride said.
“It’s been a fantastic ride winning two Group Ones with her but to race at this level for as long as she has means she has to be on top of her game all the time.
“Looking at it, that hasn’t been the case for two preparations now.
“When I first got her I thought she might get to Listed level so to win a Myer Classic and a Doncaster Mile puts her right up there.”
While future plans as a broodmare are yet to be confirmed there is little doubt as a dual Group 1 winner who amassed a tidy $2,151,890 in prize money, Sacred Choice would make a valuable one.
While Sacred Choice may not be there, this year’s $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) on April 21 is shaping up as a beauty.
The latest Doncaster Mile odds at bookmaker.com.au are led by Thousand Guineas winner Atlantic Jewel and this Saturday’s 2012 Randwick Guineas-bound Manawanui at $7.