Impressive QTC Cup winner Sacred Star has been given a one kilogram penalty for their Group 2 win ahead of this weekend’s Stradbroke Handicap 2014.
Tony Pike’s New Zealand-based four-year-old returned to Australia, having been formerly prepared in Sydney by Chris Waller, the Flying Spur gelding enjoying a smart first-up win in the Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm on Queensland Oaks Day.
The win assured them of a spot in this Saturday’s $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) then with the QTC Cup winner enjoying a ballot exemption for Queensland’s richest race.
Pike confirmed the Stradbroke Handicap was the ultimate aim for Sacred Star who is Group 1 performed back home including their close second in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) back in February at Te Rapa.
They get up to the 1400m again for the Aussie Group 1, something Pike is confident will give them the edge to win.
“He was probably a bit too fresh today and he was much more handy in the run than he normally is,” Pike said on Saturday post-win.
“He is better ridden even more cold than that. There is no doubt he is a better horse coming at them with the last run.
“The 1400m of the Stradbroke is going to be better than the 1300m today.
“And today’s run hopefully takes a bit of that freshness out of him.
“He is a horse that if they go hard in the Stradbroke and he is back midfield, he will be a chance of getting home over them.”
After winning the QTC Cup over Masthead (2nd) and Bennetta (3rd) the Kiwi raider firmed in Stradbroke Handicap betting to achieve an historic double.
Markets are still led by Ciaron Maher’s in-form filly Srikandi ($4.60) while Sacred Star is now into $13 from around $21 to score an upset Stradbroke Handicap result and become the first horse in history to win the QTC Cup – Stradbroke double.
They were originally allocated 52kg but are now up to 53kg after their penalty, which at final acceptance stage on Wednesday will become 53.5kg when weights are raised so the top-weight becomes 58kg for Doomben 10,000 winner Spirit Of Boom.
Pike also confirmed that Tim Bell, who enjoyed a trio of Group wins on Oaks day including on Tinto in the Group 1 main event, will stay on Sacred Star in the Stradbroke.
Bell opted to ride the QTC Cup champ again over $41 shot River Lad who he rode to victory in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) at Doomben.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Stradbroke Handicap 2014 field and markets.
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