Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is not ruling out his two year old Group 1 winner Sacred Elixir taking on the older horses at weight for age in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Sacred Elixir booked a ticket to Melbourne for the Spring Carnival when he demolished his opposition with a three and a half lengths win in Group 1 $600,000 BMW J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 11 with Hong Kong based Zac Purton in the saddle.
Sacred Elixir will kick off his three year old season in the Group 3 $175,000 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 24 before running in the Group 1 $1m Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield two weeks later.
“He will kick off in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude on September 24, that’s obviously a nice race to get him ready for the Caulfield Guineas,” Pike told The Informant.
Pike said his performance against the three year olds in the Caulfield Guineas will determine if he sticks to his own age in the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 29 or takes on the older horses at weight for age in the Cox Plate.
“Then we will decide what path we take – the VRC Derby, or if he was to be really dominant in the Caulfield Guineas we could consider the Cox Plate. It will just depend how he is going,” Pike said.
Pike said he will have to start looking for a replacement rider for Scared Elixir in the Caulfield Guineas as Purton will be unavailable due to commitments in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately Zac will be tied up in Hong Kong and he can’t ride Sacred Elixir in the Caulfield Guineas,” Pike said.
“There’s nothing set in stone yet, it’s still a fair way away and we’ll sort out a rider closer to the time.”
Pike is set to have a strong hand in this year’s Spring Carnival and as well as Sacred Elixir, the leading Kiwi trainer will be taking three year old Group 1 winners Provocative and Rangipo to Melbourne.
Provocative proved to be the star filly of the Brisbane Winter Carnival when she won the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm while Rangipo won the Group 1 NZ$750,000 TV3 BMW NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie on March 5.
Rangipo also raced during the Brisbane Winter Carnival for a ninth in the Group 3 $125,000 Sky Racing Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben and joined Sacred Elixir and Provocative in the spelling paddock in Queensland.
“They spelled for three weeks and they’ve been back in work for three weeks now and, at this stage, they will fly down to Melbourne on August 11,” Pike said.
“They all spelled fantastically well. There’s a lot of improvement left in them.”