Group One targets for Raffles pair

Sacred Elixir charging down the outer to grab The Soultaker at Ellerslie.

Sacred Elixir charging down the outer to grab The Soultaker at Ellerslie.

Trainer Tony Pike has Group One goals for Sacred Star and Sacred Elixir, the key members of the Raffles Racing team, when they campaign in Queensland this winter.

Sacred Elixir, a son of English Derby winner Pour Moi, is now back in work and will be set for the Gr. 1 J.J. Atkins in June. A winner at Ellerslie in January, Sacred Elixir caught the eye with a fast-finishing sixth in the 1200-metre Karaka Million and will relish getting over further ground.

“There’s a couple of nice lead up races at Eagle Farm,” said Pike. “Then two and a half weeks later is the Sires’ Produce and two weeks after that the J.J. Atkins.

“He’s a big, mature sort of two-year-old. I think as a three-year-old he is going to be a really nice horse once he gets up over 2000 metres.”

Sacred Star will be making his third trip to the Sunshine State and has enjoyed a brief spell after posting a tidy victory in the Gr. 3 Darley Plate at Ellerslie on March 5.

“He came back in on Monday as well and he’ll go back to Brisbane,” said Pike. “We’ll probably target the BTC Cup, Doomben 10,000, and the Stradbroke Handicap again.

“It’s very hard in New Zealand to get horses ready for the Melbourne spring. If they go well in Queensland then winter up there they’ll be a lot more forward if we decide to take them down to Melbourne for the spring.”

Meanwhile, Group One Auckland Cup placegetter Sacred Master has been turned out with long-range plans yet to be decided for the progressive stayer.

“He will have a good long spell,” said Pike. “He’ll come back in the winter and we will decide what to do with him in the spring.”

Sacred Master won six races, including the Gr. 2 Avondale Cup, this season before he finished third in the Ellerslie feature.

– NZ Racing Desk.