Stablemates heading separate ways after Thorndon clash

Stablemates Sacred Star and Chintz will be heading in opposite directions after pleasing their trainers with their condition after last Saturday’s Gr. 1 Harcourts Thorndon Mile at Trentham.

Sacred Star finished a solid third, a length and three-quarters from the winner A Touch Of Ruby, in the 1600-metre feature, while Chintz’s participation didn’t last long as she shied at the crossing 50 metres after the start and dislodged rider Mark Du Plessis.

Sacred Star is now likely to face another Group One mission, the $200,000 Waikato Sprint (wfa 1400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday week, while Chintz will be given a softer assignment, the Gr.3 $80,000 Hooker Pacific Taranaki Cup (1800m) at New Plymouth a week later.

Each of Sacred Star’s last four races have been over 1600 metres, but co-trainer Tony Pike believes the drop back to 1400 metres will be in his favour.

“Leith (Innes) said he just travelled too well in the Thorndon,” said Pike. “He’s getting there too soon and when he hits the front he buttons off. Bringing him back to 1400 metres in a fast-run race like the Waikato Sprint should help him. He’ll be held up as late as possible.”

Chintz has surprised Pike and training partner, Mark Donoghue, with her condition following her ordeal in the Thorndon Mile.

“She’s come through it amazingly well,” said Pike. “I thought with what she did, taking off around the field, she might have been really tired. She had a troy and canter on Tuesday morning and she seems fine.

“We’re looking at the Taranaki Cup, but we’re not 100 per cent sure at this stage. We’ll just see how she does in the next week.”

The stable also had no luck with More Than Sacred in the Gr. 2 Platinum Homes Wellington Cup. The smart staying mare finished eighth equal after her saddle slipped back on leaving the barriers.

“After her saddle slipped she was up against it,” said Pike. “She got too far back in a slowly run race and was flushed very wide on the corner. The Cup was the fastest last 600 (metres) of the day and she did well to finish as close as she did.

“She seems to have come through it all right and we’ll head to the Avondale Cup as planned.”

The Pike – Donoghue stable will also be represented at Te Rapa next weekend by Royal Dominance in the Gr. 2 Sir Tristram Fillies Classic, while the attention on Saturday will be on stablemate Sacred Park in the Gr. 2 Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas.

Sacred Park is stepping from 1600 metres to 2000 metres with just one run in the last couple of months, but Pike is confident he can make his presence felt.

“He’s still at the improving stage and he’s got the ability to win it,” he said. “He’ll have this one then the Avondale Guineas before the Derby.”