Sacred Elixir springs super surprise

Tony Pike was surprised and excited after Sacred Elixir's Caulfield Guineas Prelude win.

Tony Pike was surprised and excited after Sacred Elixir’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude win today.

Tony Pike sounded the warning pre-race, but even he wasn’t expecting what Sacred Elixir delivered fresh-up in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude at Caulfield today.

“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,” said the Cambridge trainer pre-race. “We’ve always thought this race would be too sharp for him.”

Sacred Elixir, last season’s NZ Champion Two-Year-Old award winner, was having his first start since he took his record to three wins from six starts when impressively winning the Gr.1 J.J. Atkins Stakes (1600m) in Brisbane last June.

It was therefore expected that Sacred Elixir would be in need of the run today, particularly when his main goal is the Gr. 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 29.

Sure Sacred Elixir needed the outing, but what he showed must send a shiver down the spines of his likely rivals in upcoming three-year-old features, the first of which will be the Caulfield Guineas over 1600 metres.

Sacred Elixir settled midfield on the inner today, was angled off the fence across the top by rider Damian Lane and when put into the clear in the run home he gathered momentum to gather in Revolving Door in the final stages to win by a long neck.

“It’s a pleasant surprise,” said Pike. “He has got a lot of class on his side which probably helped and just by being fresh today he’s jumped well from a good gate and he’s actually travelled super.

“Damian must have been pretty confident when he eased him out into the three train at the 600. He got him out and gave him plenty of time to wind up. It took him a while to get there.

“It’s very surprising first time around Caulfield over 1400. He’s only going to get better when he gets up in trip.”

The win left Lane excited over Sacred Elixir’s future.

“He was terrific,” he said. “He settled beautifully for me and chimed into the race really well.

“He got lost a bit when he hit the front. He’s a bit of a big dumbo and still got learning to do. That sounds silly for a Group One winner to still be learning.

“He’s a lightly raced horse and he’s got bigger and better things ahead of him.”

Sacred Elixir is on the third line of betting for the Gr. 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) in a fortnight behind Impending and Divine Prophet, who provided the quinella in today’s Stan Fox Stakes.

“He’s at least had a look around Caulfield now and done that well,” said Pike. “The extra 200 is only going to help. I wish it was 2000 metres to be fair.

“He’s got to be competitive on today’s run. He’s only going to improve.”

Sacred Elixir is nominated for the Gr.1 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley next month, but Pike is taking it one race at a time.

“We left him in (the Cox Plate) if he happened to come up really well this preparation,” said Pike. “To be fair he’d have to be really dominant in the Caulfield Guineas to consider that.”

Cambridge’s other big hope in today’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude was Saracino, a last-start winner of the Danehill Stakes. He finished a close fifth after being held up in the run home.