Group One Glory For Partners

The wait finally ended for Cambridge trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue when their exciting stable star Sacred Falls continued his unbeaten streak at Riccarton today.

Sacred Falls was backed as unbeatable in the Group I Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas and, though he encountered serious challenges from Oasis Rose and Warhorse over the final stages of the $400,000, he lived up to the expectations of punters.

Ridden as usual by Leith Innes, Sacred Falls extended his winning tally to six when downing the game filly Oasis Rose by a head, while there was a neck to third-placed Warhorse.

It was the first Group One success for Pike and Donoghue and the former admitted to a feeling of relief as much as delight as Innes returned to the winner’s enclosure on Sacred Falls.

“Today was the first time he had to really knuckle down and fight to get the win,” said Pike. “There’s a huge amount of relief to get the win.

“Leith rode him as the best horse in the field and he gave him plenty of room to make his run. He got there quite early and had to fight on and it was good to see the way he kicked back.”

Pike and Donoghue had picked up placings in the last two Telecom NZ Derbys with Historian and Silent Achiever in their bid for Group One honours. And Pike also came close in 2003 when his smart two-year-old Alastro was second, beaten a neck by Maroofity in the Ellerslie Sires’ Produce Stakes.

 “I’ve probably only had five runners in Group One races for the three placings so it’s about time I got a turn to win one,” said Pike in the leadup to today’s big win.

On hand for the first time to see Sacred Falls race was majority owner Dato Yap Kim San, who races Sacred Falls under the Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd banner along with his NZ manager Bruce Sherwin and Lawrence Wadey, of Macau.

Sacred Falls is the second Group One winner Yap has had since being associated with Sherwin. The first was Shamrocker, who within the space of six weeks in the autumn of 2011 won both the Gr.1 Australian Guineas and the Gr.1 Australian Derby and was runner-up in the Gr.1 AJC Oaks and third to Jimmy Choux in the Gr.1 Rosehill Guineas.

Sherwin had earlier enjoyed Group One success with Vapour Trail, a filly he won a two-year lease in a competition run by the Whangarei Racing Club. Trained by Donna and Dean Logan, Vapour Trail won five races, including the Gr.1 NZ Oaks and three other stakes races, and wound up the 2001-02 NZ Bloodstock Filly Of The Year.

Cambridge-trained horses won both feature races in New Zealand today with the Chris Wood-prepared Single Currency taking the Listed Timpson Family Trust Sprint at Te Rapa.

Single Currency was having just his second run back from an injury enforced spell. He underwent an operation for the removal of bone chips in a knee after contesting last year’s Coupland’s Bakeries Mile at Riccarton.

Single Currency has now won seven of his 17 starts and Wood, a shareholder in the horse, believes he is better suited to more ground than the 1200 metres of today’s event.