Tony Pike has labelled the upcoming Victoria Derby 2016 in Melbourne this spring as the “perfect” race for his impressive JJ Atkins winner in Brisbane Sacred Elixir.
The two-year-old son of Pour Moi travelled down under for a Queensland Winter Racing Carnival raid this season from Cambridge in New Zealand and made an instant impression down under.
He won first-up at the Sunshine Coast, crossed a close sixth when beaten only 1.3 lengths in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) at Doomben and then peaked at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Day.
Sacred Elixir jumped short favourite in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) on June 11 and ate up the metres in the mile feature, posting a runaway 3.5 length victory over Charnley River.
He was turned out to the paddock post winning his third race from six career runs and Pike is now plotting a spring return targeting the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival features for the rising three-year-old.
While options are open for Sacred Elixir, Pike is keen to take him to Flemington Racecourse on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival for a shot at the $1.5 million Group 1 VRC Derby (2500m).
“There are plenty of three-year-old races in Melbourne for him to run in, so we are just trying to pick out the best path to go into the Derby,” Pike told The Daily Telegraph.
“It could be the case of going through the Caulfield Classic into the Derby, or the Caulfield Guineas into the Derby.”
The lucrative Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) takes place on Caulfield Cup Day on October 15 a week after the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) runs at the same track over 400m shorter.
Polanski (2013) was the last horse to complete the Caulfield Classic – VRC Derby double when the former ran as the Norman Robinson Stakes.
Punters need to look back to 2002 however for the last Caulfield Guineas – VRC Derby double winner in Helenus.
The Kiwi raiders also have a strong recent record in the Victoria Derby results with two wins in the past six years with the ill-fated Lion Tamer winning for Murray Baker in 2010 and Sangster backing up to take it out for Trent Busuttin the following year in 2011.
Sacred Elixir is one of a couple of stable stars spelling in Queensland’s Grandview Stud for Pike post a successful carnival along with his Queensland Oaks winning filly Provocative who could be Caulfield Cup-bound this spring.
“I am very happy these horses are spelling in Queensland because it’s very wet and cold back home in New Zealand at the moment,” he said.
“Having a break in Queensland will give them their best chance to be in the best possible shape and frame of mind for their races in Melbourne.
“Winning the Queensland Oaks doesn’t seem to get you into the Caulfield Cup these days, so we are looking at targeting some of the qualifying lead-up races to get her [Provocative] into the Cup.”
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