Sydney now on radar for Elixir

Sacred Elixir, who is set to enjoy a well-earned rest before being set for Sydney next autumn. (Photo: Darryl Sherer).

Sacred Elixir, who is set to enjoy a well-earned rest before being set for Sydney next autumn. (Photo: Darryl Sherer).

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is now looking forward to the Sydney Autumn Carnival for Sacred Elixir after his second in yesterday’s Gr. 1 AAMI Victoria Derby at Flemington.

Sacred Elixir was installed favourite for the 2500-metre feature and, though he tried hard, he had to settle for runner-up berth behind the James Cummings-trained Prized Icon, who won by two and a half lengths.

“That’s it for him this prep,” said Pike. ”He’ll go home (on Wednesday) and have a spell and head to the Championships in Sydney.”

Pike admitted Prized Icon, a handsome son of More Than Ready, was just too good on the day for Sacred Elixir, who went into the Derby with wins in the Gr.3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) and the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).

“I told James (Cummings) when Prized Icon won the Champagne Stakes in the autumn he was a Derby horse and it doesn’t always work out, but it did today,” said Pike after the feature.

“He (Sacred Elixir) possibly over-raced a couple of times in the run, but not too badly. And he might have got there far too soon.

“I think Zac (Purton) was worried about getting held up by the horse coming around him three-deep.

“He had a decent old bumping duel with it on the corner and both he and Swear probably landed in front together at the top of the straight and he had to sit and wait for a fair while.

“He’s probably better just coming into it the last couple of hundred metres.”

Pike reported the Pour Moi gelding had pulled up in fine order after the Derby.

“He was very bright this morning and bouncing around like he had hardly had an outing,” he said.

The Gr.1 NZ Derby is also an option for Sacred Elixir.

“If he spells well we could see him resume in the Karaka Mile in late January before tackling one of the Derby lead-up races and then the Derby itself,” said Pike, who will discuss all possible plans with the connections of Sacred Elixir before making a final programme for him.

Fellow Cambridge galloper Highlad was not disgraced in the Victoria Derby, running on late from the rear to finish eighth, seven and a quarter lengths behind the winner.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, Highlad was having just his fifth start and to get to a Derby in one campaign was a huge task.

Given a spell, he could be a serious Derby contender later in the season.