Pike open to a Caulfield surprise

Sacred Elixir is poised to begin another Australian campaign this weekend. (Photo: Grant Peters).

Sacred Elixir is poised to begin another Australian campaign this weekend. (Photo: Grant Peters).

Tony Pike isn’t expecting a first-up victory from Sacred Elixir in Saturday’s Gr. 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude, but it wouldn’t shock him either.

“He’s a gorgeous horse and he looks fantastic,” said the Cambridge trainer. “If he gets the right trip from the good gate he’s probably going to be a winning chance, but I would still be surprised if he could win over 1400 metres at his first time around Caulfield.

“It’s been difficult for horses to make up significant ground at Caulfield in recent meetings and we’ve always thought this race would be too sharp for him.

“We will be happy as long as he is hitting the line strongly, though good horses can sometimes do unexpected things, but this is the first step in a big campaign and the Derby is the main aim.”

Sacred Elixir is the early favourite for the Gr. 1 Victoria Derby and is the second favourite for the Gr. 1 Caulfield Guineas on October 8.

He will be ridden by Damian Lane, who is also booked for Rangipo in the Gr. 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes. The Gr. 1 NZ Derby winner will race in blinkers for the first time when he resumes.

“He tended to slip under the radar a bit and has always been underrated, but he’s a tough horse,” said Pike.

Rangipo has not raced since making one appearance at the Brisbane carnival in May, but has had two jump-outs at Flemington to get him fit.

”There will be improvement with his first run and he looks great,” said Pike. “He’s really thickened up from three to four.

“It’s a tough race to kick him off in. He will be better when he gets to a mile or 2000 metres and the draw doesn’t help, but there aren’t a lot of other options to start him off in.

”We are hoping the blinkers will sharpen him up and help him concentrate. He worked really well in blinkers last Thursday and again on Tuesday.”

– NZ Racing Desk.