Hong Kong based jockey Zac Purton says that his main objective on favourite Sacred Elixir is to stay clear of trouble in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington today.
Sacred Elixir will jump from the inside gate in the final field that remained with the original top sixteen acceptors with all four emergencies failing to gain a run.
The Tony Pike trained Sacred Elixir holds his spot at the top of the market order for the Victoria Derby at $2.90 with Ladbrokes.com.au and Purton will be looking to find a clear passage through the field from the 1000m when plenty of the three year olds will be starting to feel the pinch.
“There is a little bit of rubbish in the race and I just need to stay out of the ones who will be getting a stitch,” Purton told The Courier-Mail.
“Sacred Elixir has got a great turn of foot and a big set of lungs. Put them together and that is a great recipe for an early three-year-old staying test.
“He has a slight tendency to over-race so the last thing I want to do is fire him out of the barrier (one).
“I just want to get him into a nice rhythm and hopefully he should be able to do the rest.”
Purton is chasing his second Group 1 win on Sacred Elixir after steering the then two year old to victory in the Group 1 $600,000 BMW J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
The Hong Kong premiership winning jockey immediately labelled Sacred Elixir as a Victoria Derby chance and he can see that prediction coming to fruition today.
“Immediately after the JJ, I told people they would be seeing him down in Melbourne,” Purton said.
“He was always big and robust as a two-year-old and I thought he would continue to develop into a really serious racehorse.
Purton will be having his first ride back on Sacred Elixir since winning the JJ Atkins but has been impressed with the Kiwi gelding’s recent Spring Carnival form.
“I have watched the replays of his most recent starts and his effort to win first-up (in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude) when he wasn’t expected to was absolutely terrific,” Purton said.
“He then did a bit wrong and over-raced in the Guineas, but then he was back to his best in the Vase.”
Damian Lane has been on board Sacred Elixir for his three Spring Carnival runs and the pair combined to score a first up win in the Group 3 $175,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield before running eighth to Divine Prophet in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
Purton was impressed with his last win in the Group 2 $200,000 LUCRF Super Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley last week and can see him handling the step up to the 2500m today.
“The most encouraging part of his win in the Vase was the last part of the race, and that is really encouraging seeing as he needs to make the step up to 2500m in the Derby.”
Market order for the Victoria Derby at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.90 Sacred Elixir, $7.50 Swear, $8.50 So Si Bon, $15 Inference, $16 Rocketeer, $17 Prized Icon, Captain Duffy, $18 Morvada, $21 Beach Life, $21 Tumultuous, Highlad, $34 Wine Bush, Kent, Hollywood Mo, $51 Silvera, $91 All Out Of Love.