Adecision on an Australian Derby start for Sacred Elixir will be made after he works on Saturday.

The Cambridge galloper will either work at home or have an exhibition gallop at the Tauranga meeting.

"He will have a serious hitout and a lot will depend on how he works," trainer Tony Pike said.

"If we are happy with him he will go [to Sydney] but if there are any question marks, he will have a short break and then go to Brisbane." Sacred Elixir, the runner-up in the Victoria Derby in the spring, produced a good run for fifth in the New Zealand Derby, after getting well off the pace, and recorded the fastest times for the final 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m.


"His sectionals were very good," Pike said.

But Pike was also conscious that Sacred Elixir's leadup form had been below the high standards he had set in his two previous campaigns.

"He wasn't going badly but he wasn't going as well as he was in Melbourne and Brisbane."

However, it could be that the NZ Derby form will be as good as any going into the A$2 million Australian Derby, which will be run at Randwick on Saturday week.

Matamata galloper Gingernuts, who won at Ellerslie, comfortably won the Rosehill Guineas last weekend and is now favourite for the Randwick classic.

The Ellerslie form will also be tested when the NZ Derby placegetters Rising Red and Jon Snow tackle the Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill this weekend. Gingernuts was a $4 favourite for the Australian Derby yesterday, with Inference at $4.60 and Anaheim at $7.

Rising Red was among three horses sharing the fourth line, at $11, with Sacred Elixir being kept safe at $15.

Meanwhile, Pike's 2016 New Zealand Derby winner Rangipo shapes as the horse to beat in the $100,000 group two Windsor Park Japan Trophy (1600m) at Tauranga on Saturday.

Rangipo has had only four starts since his Derby triumph and his spring campaign was halted after he failed in two starts at the Melbourne spring carnival, where he was hampered by wide draws and unsuitable tracks.

He resumed on an encouraging note when third in the Darley Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 4 and is an obvious chance this weekend with 52.5kg.

"He gets in well at the weights for a Derby winner," Pike said. "He's stepping up from 1200m to 1600m and ideally he would have had a run at 1400m but if he brings his A game he should be very hard to beat." Rangipo, who had treatment for a back problem before he resumed, had seven wins and three placings from 11 starts as a three-year-old, winning group races from 1600m to 2400m.

"He's always had a few issues but when you get him right he's a high class horse," Pike said.

The Tauranga feature will also serve as Rangipo's leadup to the $200,000 Group I Manco Easter Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie on April 22.

Mark Du Plessis will ride Rangipo on Saturday and lightweight riders will be in high demand with 11 of the 14 runners having 52.5kg or less and two others on 53kg.

Some trainers were scrambling to get suitable riders yesterday after the late entry Scapolo compressed the weights.

Scapolo, who carried 66.5kg to win the rating 85 Poverty Bay Cup (1600m) at his last start, will carry 59kg and will be giving at least 6kg to his rivals.

Danielle Johnson will ride Romantic Maid and Kelly McCulloch will partner All Roads.

The two NZ-trained horses who will be racing in Sydney on Saturday both drew the outside barrier. However, that may not be a major disadvantage on a wet track, with Rosehill rated a heavy 10 yesterday.

Jon Snow will start from barrier 13 in the Tulloch Stakes and La Bella Diosa has the same draw for the A$500,000 group one Vinery Stakes (2000m).