Tony Pike’s visiting New Zealand-trained galloper Sacred Star has won their first Brisbane trial today in scintillating style ahead of a possible shot at the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap next month.
The Flying Spur four-year-old blitzed their 840m hitout this morning with their regular rider Leith Innes guiding them to a tidy victory over local speedster Adebisi in a very slick 48.18, one of the fastest recorded at Doomben Racecourse in many years.
Their winning time was a full second faster than the morning’s other 840m trial won by Kelso Wood’s speedy Brisbane Handicap winner Someday (49.23).
It was also exactly the type of performance Pike, who co-trains with Mark Donoghue at Cambridge, was hoping to see from the promising gelding who hasn’t raced in Australia since November of 2012.
A winner of five of their 16 starts to date in both Australia and New Zealand, Sacred Star is nominated for the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7.
They are one of 100 hopefuls heading towards Queensland’s richest race, and their impressive trial win is a good sign they can earn a spot in the Stradbroke Handicap field.
Their career kicked off two years ago in Sydney with master trainer Chris Waller before they were exported to NZ.
On Aussie soil they’ve never raced in stakes company, but in NZ six of their nine starts have been in Group company including their past two at elite lvel.
After running third in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) in a fighting finish on January 25 they were last seen crossing just a long neck away second to Viadana in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa where they put in a great effort late to nearly break their Group 1 duck.
Pike is now hoping that’s something they achieve down under during their Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival bid for connections Raffles Thoroughbred Racing Syndicate who have enjoyed plenty of success here including dual Doncaster Mile wins with Sacred Falls (2013-14).
And that dream became more grounded in reality after their Doomben trial win.
Current Stradbroke Handicap betting markets are led by the Gary Portelli-trained Rebel Dane ($6) and local hope Spirit Of Boom ($6.50) both of who will take on beaten BTC Cup favourite Buffering ($7) in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 24.
Sacred Star meanwhile can be found much further down the Stradbroke Handicap odds at a current quote of $41, a price that will firm if they can win their first Brisbane run.
That run is expected to come on May 31, Queensland Oaks Day, at Doomben in the $175,000 Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) where the winner automatically qualifies for the Stradbroke.
To get behind Sacred Star for an upset Stradbroke Handicap result and see the full markets for the winter classic, visit the country’s premier online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.
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