It has been a long time since New Zealand will saddle up two genuine hopes in a Victorian spring classic.

Even rival horseman Murray Baker believes Sacred Elixir can win tomorrow's A$1 million Caulfield Guineas.

Certainly he rates the fellow Cambridge-trained 3-year-old the one for his runner, Saracino to beat.

Bookmakers on both sides of the Tasman rate the John O'Shea Sydney-trained Impending as the favourite at $4.40. The Hawkes-trained Divine Prophet is second favourite at $4.80 with Sacred Elixir next best fancied at $6.50. Saracino is at $13.

Sacred Elixir's price, a touch shorter on our TAB, is liberal given he is the winner of four of his seven starts, won the Guineas Prelude when trainer Tony Pike was not at all confident over the 1400m trip.


"He's going to be even better at the 1600m this time," Pike said yesterday. Sacred Elixir has delighted his camp this week.

"Even though he has worked left-handed at home, he has been a bit awkward around the bends going that way on this trip, but he seems to be getting more and more comfortable. He's primed for a big run.

"He has to take on the two Sydney newcomers in Impending and Divine Prophet, but we will be disappointed if he doesn't take a top three placing."

Impending will again be ridden by James McDonald, who was in the saddle when the Lonhro colt won the Stan Fox Stakes, narrowly beating Divine Prophet. Both horses were impressive.

Murray Baker is hoping for a trouble-free run on a track that can be unforgiving if things go wrong.

"We are happy with him and if things go right for him he won't be far away."

Baker gets excited talking about the A$500,000 1000 Guineas chances of Luna Rossa, who races as La Luna Rossa in Australia.

"We are very, very pleased with the way she has trained on here. She will be wearing blinkers for the first time on Saturday. She's a very relaxed filly and the blinkers will sharpen her up.

"She should be able to take up a nice place, fourth or fifth, one off.

She was strong at the end of the Tranquil Star to finish second last start and a similar run this time will take her into it again."

La Luna Rossa is rated a $11 chance. The $2.80 hot favourite is the Chris Waller-trained Foxplay, who stormed home late to win the Tea Rose Stakes last start in Sydney. Global Glamour is at $4, Whispering Rock on a point longer at $11 is Harlow Gold.

Saracino and La Luna Rossa will be ridden by Damien Oliver and Sacred Elixir by Damian Lane.

Damien Oliver will also ride the Baker/Forsman representative Turn Me Loose in the last at Caulfield. He has drawn gate No 2, just about the first decent barrier he has had in Australia.

Turn Me Loose has looked good in the exhibition gallops he has got through in New Zealand since last racing in the autumn.

Eletist ticks every box possible in tomorrow's $50,000 Team Wealleans Matamata Cup.

He races on his home track, on which he has an unbeaten three-from-three record. The track will be heavy, on which footing Eletist has won twice and on slow ground he is four from five.

Eletist was well beaten at Hastings last start, but he was coming off deep tracks to strike a decent surface over a sharply-run 1200m, run in a smart time for this part of the year - 1.11.83. He is much better placed over 1600m here.

Candle In The Wind has had five starts on rain-affected footing and has yet to run a place.

Yet she seemed to handle the wet footing at Ellerslie on Bonecrusher Stakes Day when she galloped between races with Hasselhoof.

Training gallops like that without their heads being let go are different to race conditions, but if she were to travel in a similar fashion here she would not be out of it.

Promises cannot quite crack one, but she hasn't been far from it either. She is a danger to most fields from down on the 53kg minimum weight. Our King Sway is not out of it, with Lucy Liu best of the rest.

Punting pointers

• Each-way value: Doucette, (R1, Matamata). Found the metric milers a touch sharp last start and outsprinted after leading. The 2000m and wet track here suit better.

• Four from four?: Seventh Up (R6 Matamata). Unbeaten in three on heavy ground. Impressive winning when fresh at Pukekohe and should be improved.

• Probably better from behind: Armaguard (R2, Matamata). Hunted up to lead last start and may have paid the price late when run down. Came from last for impressive debut win before that. Might be the key.