Another Sacred step towards 2000 Guineas

The combination of Raffles Farm and Cambridge trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue are again looking forward to the Gr. 1 $400,000 Sothy’s NZ 2000 Guineas at Riccarton.

Last year the partnership landed the money in the 1600-metre feature with Sacred Falls and now the attention is on Sacred Park, who looks a huge chance in the November 9 event after a convincing win in the Gr., 3 Manuka Doctor Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie last Saturday.

Adding to the Sacred Falls theme, Sacred Park was ridden by Leith Innes, who settled the three-year-old just off the pace and guided him to a three-quarter length win over Burnt Orange.

Sacred Falls, who is now racing from Chris Waller’s Rosehill stable, was unbeaten in New Zealand from the Pike – Donoghue barn and is now a dual Group One winner, having also taken the Doncaster Handicap in Sydney for Waller.

Pike acknowledges Sacred Falls is no Sacred Park, but he believes the horse will be very competitive when he gets to Christchurch.

“He’s probably not as brilliant or professional as Sacred Falls but I’m sure there will be plenty of improvement in him,” said Pike. “He’s just probably lacked that touch of brilliance over a short trip that Sacred Falls had, but I think he’ll get a lot further. The penny hasn’t dropped yet.”

Sacred Park won on debut at Te Rapa last May, then suffered his first defeat when third behind Victory Dragon fresh-up at Taupo on September 9, beaten a length and three quarters. Pike says the horse struggled around the Taupo track, getting unbalanced, and was better-suited last Saturday.

Pike has not yet decided on a lead-up to the 2000 Guineas and he believes the roomy Riccarton track will suit Sacred Park, a son of Thorn Park.

Sacred Park was bought by Raffles Farm for $110,000 from last year’s Select Yearling Sale at Karaka and is from the same family which produced last season’s wonderful three-year-old and recent Gr. 1 Underwood Stakes winner (It’s A) Dundeel.

Sacred Park’s dam, Dosh, an unraced Danske mare, traces back to Money, a six-race winner who is the fourth dam of Dundeel. Black type closer in the pedigree is from Dosh’s sister, Molta, who won four races including the Gr. 3 Lowland Stakes at Tauherenikau.