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Sacred Elixir looks set to claim another Victoria Derby for NZ

Sacred Elixir looks set to claim another $1.5 million Victoria Derby for the Kiwis.

The New Zealand-bred and trained colt is favourite for Saturday’s Derby and has attracted big interest in his home country.

“We’re pretty parochial,” trainer Tony Pike admitted.

“It’s always great for a Kiwi to come over here and beat the Aussies in a big race.”

Sacred Elixir also has the advantage of jumping from the inside barrier.

“If he settles nicely he should be very hard to beat from a good gate,” Pike said.

The Kiwis have enjoyed a lot of success in the Group One Classic for three-year-olds, including a three-year run with Sangster (2011), Lion Tamer (2010) and Monaco Consul (2009).

“It’s a race the Kiwis seem to be competitive in,” said Pike, who won his first New Zealand Derby this year.

“There’s not that many Kiwi-bred horses in this race on Saturday but hopefully we still take it home.”

Making regular trips across the ditch could be on the cards.

“The prize money here is just too good to turn down,” Pike said.

“If the right horses are at home and we think they’re going to be competitive we’ll definitely be coming.”

Mick Price, who trained last year’s Victoria Derby winner Tarzino and has Rocketeer in this year’s race, said Sacred Elixir was a deserved favourite.

“You’ve got to respect the Kiwis when they come to their staying-type horses.

“Pikey is a good Kiwi trainer and he’s a good Kiwi horse obviously so I have got a lot of respect for all that.”

Among those out to upset the favourite is Prized Icon, who will bid to give James Cummings an historic win as a fourth generation trainer to claim the race.

Michelle Payne on Saturday becomes the first person in Victoria to ride a runner she trains at Group level, taking Queen of Zealand to the Group Two Wakeful Stakes in the hope of securing a place in Thursday’s $1 million VRC Oaks.

Payne is yet to secure a ride in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup, a year after making history by becoming the first female jockey to win the race.

About 100,000 people are expected at Flemington racecourse for Derby Day’s four Group One races and will enjoy a sunny 25C, in stark contrast to a top temperature of just 13.2C for last Saturday’s Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

 
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