Sacred Elixir stamped himself as a leading contender for the 2016 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas after he returned to the races with an impressive victory in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude this afternoon.
Sacred Elixir had not been seen at the races since he recorded a dominant victory in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival, but he was the strongest horse in the final stages of the race and he ground out the win.
Jockey Damian Lane was having his first ride on Sacred Elixir and he was impressed with the feel he received from the Pour Moi gelding, but he still believes there is plenty of improvement left in the tank heading towards the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
“He was terrific,” Lane said.
“He settled beautifully for me and he chimed into the race really well.
“He got a little bit lost when I hit the front – he is kind of a big dumbo – and he still has plenty of learning to do.
“He is a lightly-raced horse and he has bigger and better things ahead of him.
“They have turned him out in terrific order and I have to thank Tony and the boys who work for him for giving me the opportunity to jump aboard.
“I was just happy I could get the job done.”
Trainer Tony Pike admitted after the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Prelude that he was surprised with how impressive Sacred Elixir was over 1400 metres and he also believes that there is plenty of improvement left in the three-year-old.
Pike confirmed that Sacred Elixir would have his next race start in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas and he said that both the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) are both options for the Group 1 winner.
“He does have a lot of class on his side, which probably helped him,” Pike said.
“He jumped well from the good gate and he has actually travelled super.
“It took him a while to get there, but he is only going to get better as he gets up in trip.
“He has had a look around Caulfield now and the extra 200 metres is only going to help – I wish it was 2000 metres to be fair.
“He is going to be competitive on today’s run and he is only going to improve.
“He is nominated for the Cox Plate and we left him in for that reason, if he happened to come up really well this preparation.
“He would have to be really dominant in a Caulfield Guineas to consider that, but he is in the race at this stage.”
Danehill Stakes winner Sarciano went into the Caulfield Guineas Prelude as one of the favourites, but he could not find clear running in the final stages.
Revolving Door toughed it out right on the speed for second, while Wazzenme made up good ground late for third.