Major highlight on the cards for mates

Cambridge trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue are on the verge of a milestone in their careers.

The training partners will be chasing their first Group One success at Riccarton on Saturday and are odds-on to achieve the milestone with the unbeaten Sacred Falls in the Sothys NZ 2000 Guineas.

Since training in partnership, the two friends have had two Group One placings in the Telecom NZ Derby, with Historian (second to Jimmy Choux) and Carrick (third to Silent Achiever). And beforehand Pike picked up a Group One second with Alastro in the 2003 Ford Ellerslie Sires’ Produce Stakes.

“I haven’t had many Group One runners, probably only about five, and after a few placings it’s about time I got my turn,” said Pike.

Pike and Donoghue prepare Sacred Falls for Malaysian businessman Dato Yap Kim San, who operates under the Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd banner. Another stable member for the same owner is Best Command, a stakes-placegetter in her first campaign.

Sacred Falls will start a white-hot favourite in the 2000 Guineas and Pike reports the horse is on target in his attempt to extend his unbeaten sequence to six.

“He’s fit and there’s no more we can do,” said Pike. “He galloped well with Aspinal last Saturday morning and the two worked together again yesterday. Aspinal is a fantastic trackworker and now that she’s in foal, she’s flying. Sacred Falls worked with her nicely.”

Sacred Falls will again be ridden on Saturday by Leith Innes, who has made a few special trips down from his Clark’s Beach home to ride the exciting youngster in trackwork at Cambridge. “Mark (Donoghue) normally rides him, but Leith has been down three of four times over the last couple of months,” said Pike.

Innes will also ride Waterford, the stable’s big hope in the Group I NZ Bloodstock 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on Saturday week.

Waterford has pleased her trainers in her leadup to Riccarton. “She was flying yesterday morning,” said Pike. “It’s the best she’s worked. She’s improved heaps with her last run and the further she goes the better it should suit her.”