Racing: Pyke looks forward to Victoria Derby

By Mike Dillon

Photo / 123RF
Photo / 123RF

Trainer Tony Pike is a long way from devastated after well-fancied Sacred Elixir was beaten into eighth in Saturday's Caulfield Guineas.

"No, it's not the end of the world," Pike told the Herald yesterday.

The Cambridge trainer is as much as ever looking forward to taking Sacred Elixir to the 2500m of the A$1.5 million Victoria Derby in three weeks.

Pretty much everything went wrong this time, according to Pike. "He got himself stirred up with the very big crowd around the parade ring.

"We'd deliberately left him on the fresh side to keep the speed in his legs because he's a natural stayer and that didn't help his attitude.

"He got caught three deep, over-raced and wobbled around the home bend. You'd say ideally the rider could have waited a bit longer to make his run and the winner got a perfect run.

"He fizzled late and a couple worked past him in the closing stages, but he was only 2.7 lengths away from the winner, so it wasn't that bad a run." Divine Prophet, from the No 1 barrier, was too strong under Dwayne Dunn in the closing stages and scored nicely for team Hawkes.

It just wasn't a good day for the New Zealanders when plenty had been expected.

Smart filly La Luna Rossa finished eighth in the 1000 Guineas, Saracino did better when only 2.1 lengths away in sixth place in the Caulfield Guines and Turn Me Loose was never in contention beating two home in the 1100m last race of the programme.

Like Tony Pike, trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman were not too downcast around any of those three horses.

"On the surface you'd say Luna Rossa was disappointing being nearly seven lengths from the winner, but things went wrong," said Forsman.

"She half pie missed the start and he [Damien Oliver] gave her a kick and she got trucking. He tried to get in but couldn't and when it was obvious he was going to get caught three wide he kicked up and ended up outside the leader. It was basically game over because she is better ridden from behind.

"I thought Saracino went pretty well to finish sixth only 2.1 lengths from the winner in the big race. He's probably a bit weak yet to be hitting the line strongly at 1600m at this stage. He'll be better freshened and run at 1200m."

- NZ Herald

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