Sacred Elixir has completed an ideal lead-in to the 2016 Victoria Derby after returning to winning form in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) this afternoon.
Returning to racing this time for an impressive win in the Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) in late September, Sacred Elixir was unable to over a tough run in transit when eighth in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) a fortnight ago, but appeared as though he would relish a step-up in distance this afternoon.
Jumping well, Damian Lane allowed the Pour Moi gelding to stride forward from the barriers and took a positive position on the heels of early leaders Morvada and Sayonaramosa as the field passed the post the first time.
Lane managed to get the three-year-old to switch off over the back straight; something that proved imperative when Sacred Elixir mustered a dominant turn of foot with 100m to run, comfortably beating Morvada and So Si Bon to the line.
Having run into a little trouble in the early stages of the final straight, Lane was thrilled to guide Sacred Elixir to his fifth career win in the Moonee Valley Vase.
“They were just a little sharp off the bend at his last start and a few things didn’t go our way in the run,” Lane said.
“Today however he settled beautifully for me without the blinkers and we found a little bit of trouble at the corner but he was going that well, as soon as I got an inch of room he just burst his way through.
“He’s a beautiful Derby-type. He’s got all the right attributes – he puts himself in a spot, he switches off and he sprints well so he’s going to be the one to beat for sure.”
Trainer Tony Pike was on hand for Sacred Elixir’s win in the Moonee Valley Vase and is confident that he will prove tough to beat in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington next weekend.
“It’s just good to see him back in winning form,” Pike said after the race.
“We could have been a little bit disappointed with his Guineas run but he got quite fired-up pre-race and just over-raced, and that was probably the telling factor.
“Today he relaxed well, Hughie sort of pushed him into the fence there for a while but once he got clear air there, he wobbled a bit around the corner but was really strong late.
“All goes well for next week. We always thought he was a Derby horse – he’s got a real stayer’s pedigree. He’s just had the ability and class to compete over shorter trips.”