Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Tony Pike’s Kiwi raider Sacred Elixir ran the perfect 2016 Victoria Derby lead-up on Cox Plate Day with a tight win in the Moonee Valley Vase.
The talented Pour Moi gelding won the Group 1 J.J. Atkins (1600m) in Brisbane as a two-year-old in the winter and was a first-up winner at Caulfield in the Prelude over 1400m.
Things went amiss when he over-raced in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) after being fired-up pre-race, but he atoned in the $200,000 Group 2 LUCRF Super Vase (2040m) third-up.
“It was good to see him back in winning form,” his Cambridge-based trainer Pike said post-race.
“Today he relaxed well and once he got clear around the straight he was strong late.
“So it all looks well for next week.”
Ridden by Damian Lane for the third time in as many starts this prep, the New Zealand-trained galloper proved he could handle extra distance despite being entitled to lose the Vase after a luckless run.
From the inside alley the Peter Jolly-trained Mossman gelding Morvada from Adelaide, racing in Melbourne and over further than a mile for the first time, went straight to the front in the Vase.
Lane meanwhile had Sacred Elixir switched off nicely third, with most of the runners tracking away from the rail.
Morvada set a solid pace throughout making for a good Derby trial.
The field bunched approaching the turn and Morvada looked under pressure, but he held well for the second to Sacred Elixir who got off balance up the middle on the straight fighting it out to hit the front 50m from the line.
Earlier the favourite Sacred Elixir got held-up approaching the 800m, got put in a pocket by the Hugh Bowman-ridden Veladero and was hampered a couple of times when probing for a run over the concluding stages.
Class prevailed in the Moonee Valley Vase results however and once the gap opened up for him, Sacred Elixir ($4.80) surged through and won well from the pacesetter Morvada ($67) at big odds in a brave on speed run.
Finishing off the Moonee Valley Vase trifecta in third was So Si Bon ($6.50) who also looks on track for a seven day turnaround on the quick back-up at Flemington next Saturday in the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
“Today he settled beautifully for me without the blinkers,” winning hoop Lane said of Sacred Elixir.
“As soon as we got an inch of room he burst his way through.
“He’s a beautiful Derby type and he’s got all the attributes to win that. He switches off and sprints well. He’ll be the one to beat for sure.”
Off the Vase result Sacred Elixir is sure to start favourite in Victoria Derby betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to complete the double for the first time since Efficient (2006) a decade ago.
Last year’s VRC Derby winner Tarzino (2015) also came off a run in the Vase (3rd).
New Zealanders have a strong recent record in the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s feature three-year-old staying race with Sangster (2011) and Lion Tamer (2010) back-to-back VRC Derby winners from across the Tasman.
“We always thought he was a Derby horse,” Pike said of Sacred Elixir.
“He’s got that really deep staying pedigree.
“A big roomy track like Flemington is also going to suit him down to the ground.”
To back Sacred Elixir next weekend in the Victoria Derby 2016 at Enhanced Odds (T&Cs apply) head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
2016 Moonee Valley Vase Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 10 – 22/10/2016
|1||2||SACRED ELIXIR (NZ)||Tony Pike||Damian Lane||–||6||57kg||$4.60F|
|2||4||MORVADA||Peter Jolly||Steven Arnold||0.5L||1||57kg||$51|
|3||6||SO SI BON||Robbie Laing||Michael Dee (a)||1.75L||4||57kg||$6|
|4||3||VELADERO||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||2.25L||11||57kg||$11|
|5||1||PRIZED ICON||James Cummings||Glyn Schofield||5L||2||57kg||$6.50|
|6||11||HARLOW GOLD (NZ)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss (a)||5.2L||10||55kg||$6.50|
|7||5||SILVERA||Tony McEvoy||Kerrin McEvoy||5.6L||9||57kg||$10|
|8||9||SAYONARAMOSA (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Mark Zahra||6.85L||5||57kg||$81|
|9||7||RETALIATION||John O’Shea||James McDonald||10.1L||3||57kg||$16|
|10||8||WIMBORNE||Robbie Laing||Dwayne Dunn||13.35L||8||57kg||$101|
|SB||10||WHISPERING BROOK||Simon A Miller||Nicholas Hall||–||7||55kg||–|
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