Cambridge trainer Tony Pike couldn’t be happier with his Kiwi raider Sacred Star ahead of the five-year-old’s BTC Cup 2015 bid in Brisbane this weekend following the horse’s nice look around the Doomben track on Tuesday morning.
The Flying Spur gelding is back in the ‘Sunshine State’ chasing his third Group 1 win on the trot when taking on a host of the season’s ace sprinters in Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
The sprint classic kicks off Group 1 racing this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, and pre-field markets on the weight-for-age feature at Ladbrokes.com.au are led by Team Hawkes’ ultra-consistent Our Boy Malachi ($4.20).
Sacred Star meanwhile can be found at a much more generous $13 in the latest BTC Cup odds despite the galloper’s nice lead-up form back home in New Zealand.
At his last two starts Sacred Star has become a dual Group 1 winner with victories in Trentham’s Telegraph Stakes (1200m) that he won by four lengths in January and the Nrm Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa on February 7.
He boasts a tidy first-up record of three wins from six previous runs when resuming, form Pike is hoping he can repeat back down under on the weekend.
Sacred Star is also no stranger to racing in Queensland having enjoyed a two-hit campaign in Brisbane last winter.
In his first run on Aussie soil, which followed a second in last year’s Nrm Sprint, he beat home Masthead by a quarter-length to win the Group 2 Magic Millions QTC Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
He then returned to the track next start to run a luckless but brave fifth as a 20/1 shot in the state’s richest race, the $2 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), where he was forced back from a wide gate before finishing off strongly off a slower-than-needed pace.
This year’s Stradbroke Handicap is set to run over 1350m at Doomben Racecourse on June 6 and is the longer term carnival aim of Sacred Star’s, the bookies currently rating him a $15 shot in the early Stradbroke odds.
He is also nominated for the $750,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 23, which all going well he will contest after Saturday’s BTC Cup.
Pike put Sacred Star through his paces at Doomben this morning and the progressive sprinter showed a new-found maturity with a nice piece of work that has his trainer confident ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 back at the track.
“He had a good look at Doomben this morning, his ears pricked on the line and he worked really nicely,” Pike told The Courier-Mail.
“He came over here last year with solid form at home in New Zealand but his form is better this year. His run in the Stradbroke last year was super and he was one of the few closers in the race.”
Second pick in BTC Cup betting, Srikandi, also had a look around Doomben on Tuesday morning and impressed her trainer Ciaron Maher.
Last winter in Brisbane the now four-year-old daughter of Dubawi won three black-types on the trot before a close third to River Lad in the Stradbroke.
The Caulfield-based Maher said she was now racing 20kg heavier and was going better than 12 months ago, the classy mare coming off a first-up win in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at the Gold Coast on April 25.
To check out the early BTC Cup markets before prices firm with the release of the final acceptances on Wednesday head over to Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $250 free bonus welcome bet offer this season!