Tony Pike is reverting to Plan B to give Sacred Day a chance to keep his Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) hopes alive.

The Cambridge trainer had all but ruled out a start at today's Te Aroha meeting before the announcement yesterday afternoon that it had been abandoned.

"He will not run on a heavy track," Pike said.

"At this stage, we're taking eight or 10 to Gisborne on Sunday and it's a Slow 7 there, but it's a mostly fine week there so it should be ideal. He can run in a mile or over 2000m."


Following his runaway maiden success at Hastings earlier this month, Sacred Day is at $21 in the market for next month's Vodafone-sponsored classic at Ellerslie.

"It's probably coming up a bit quick for him, but if the field continued to drop off and he blew them away on Sunday we might roll the dice - otherwise there's always Sydney," Pike said.

Debut-winning Pierro filly Terra Sancta, who holds a nomination for the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), is another likely to run in Gisborne.

• A strong showing on Saturday can earn the emerging mare High Spirits a shot at a Group One feature.

"She's nominated for the Nathans at Auckland to give her a look around Ellerslie so we'll have a go and if we're happy with the result we'll nominate her for the Auckland Cup," trainer John Bary said. "We know she can get the two miles and she's loving her work and racing."

In December, High Spirits won for the third time in her career when she produced a dominant performance in the Chalmers Two Mile Premier (3200m) at Wellington and then returned to Trentham to finish a bold fifth in the Gr.3 Trentham Stakes (2100m). The Darci Brahma five-year-old was fifth again in the Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m) after racing four wide for the last 1000m.

"We've also put in a cheeky nomination for the Sydney Cup," Bary said. "She's a mare that has got better with age and she'll probably be even better next season."

While High Spirits' career is set to go to another level, younger stablemate Swiss Precision's has come to a premature end.

The Nearco Stud-bred and owned three-year-old's future is in the broodmare paddock after suffering an injury when unplaced in last week's Wairarapa Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Tauherenikau.

"She's got a hairline fracture in a fetlock so she's been retired," Bary said.

By Swiss Ace, Swiss Precision won two of her five races this term and finished fourth behind the top filly Dijon Bleu in the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes.

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- NZ Racing Desk