Trainer Tony Pike has confirmed that Sacred Elixir will be set for an appearance in the 2017 Australian Derby (2400m) on Day 1 of The Championships, following a credible performance in the New Zealand Derby over the weekend.
Jumping from the gates well in the Group 1 feature at Ellerslie, Sacred Elixir was settled in a positive position close to the pace and experienced something of a carefree run in transit, but was easily accounted for in the final straight and finished fifth; three lengths off race winner Gingernuts.
Pike told the New Zealand Racing Desk that the Pour Moi gelding has come through the run exceptionally well and that all systems are go towards a berth in the Australian Derby 2017.
“He pulled up very well, he’s improving and his sectionals were very good,” Pike said
“He got back in a slowly-run race and he’s heading in the right direction.
“We’ll look at the ATC Derby. We’re keeping our options open and whether he runs in the Rosehill Guineas has yet to be decided.”
Sacred Elixir stamped himself as one to watch when he debuted to racing for second in an Ellerslie minor over 1200m in December 2015, and continued to impressive with a smart win in the Countdown To Karaka Millions Plate (1200m) and a credible sixth in the Listed Karaka Million (1200m).
Arriving in Australia for a comfortable win at Caloundra on May 11th, Sacred Elixir finishing sixth in the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350m) before storming home to win the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) by close to four lengths.
Returning in spring for a convincing win in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m), Sacred Elixir finished mid-pack in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) but responded in impressive fashion to win the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) and end his year second in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
Resuming this time for fourth in the Listed Karaka 3YO Mile (1600m), the gelding out of Baltika placed seventh in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m), in what was his only other start prior to the New Zealand Derby.
Sacred Elixir is currently considered at $17 chance in early 2017 Australian Derby betting markets with leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au.