Sprinter could star over summer
There's plenty of water to still go under the bridge but Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is optimistic Group One ace Sacred Star could have his first run in 18 months in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) at Ellerslie on New Year's Day.
Sacred Star returned to the Pike stable after an unplaced 935m open trial at Cambridge on Thursday, having done his pre-training with trainers Moira and Kieran Murdoch at Waiuku Beach.
|Sacred Star Photo: Trish Dunell Photography|
"I saw him today for the first time in six months. He had a big blow and he's still big in condition but all going to plan, we'd like to run fresh-up in the Railway," Pike said.
A two-time winner under Sydney trainer Chris Waller, Flying Spur gelding Sacred Star was transferred to Pike in 2012 and the following season placed in both the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham and NRM Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa before winning the Gr.2 QTC Cup (1400m) at Eagle Farm.
He claimed his first Group One win in the 2015 Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham, then doubled up in the NRM Sprint.
Despite winning the Gr.3 Darley Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie the following year, Sacred Star failed to fire in a subsequent Brisbane campaign, plagued by hoof issues.
Pike and Bruce Sherwin, racing manager for owners Raffles Racing, decided to send Sacred Star to the Murdochs for a more forgiving training surface and that move has seemed to have paid dividends if the reaction to Thursday's trial under rider Vinnie Colgan was anything to go by.
"Everyone was pleased. He needed the trial but he went really well. He's just still lacking in a bit of fitness and carrying a bit of excess condition," Moira Murdoch said.
"He came out to us because of his bad feet and he loved his time at the beach. He had a jumpout at Pukekohe before hs trial. Mark Du Plessis rode him in that and said he felt great. It's good to see him so well and enthusiastic."
Sacred Star was named champion sprinter at the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Awards in the 2014-15 season but without a stakes win to his credit in the past 18 months, would carry just 55kg in the Railway under the set weights and penalties conditions. - NZ Racing Desk.