Star New Zealand three-year-old Sacred Elixir will be kept to his own age group for his next start as he heads to another tilt at a Derby.
Runner-up to Prized Icon in the Victoria Derby in October, Sacred Elixir had been entered for Saturday’s Group One Herbie Dyke Stakes against older horses at Te Rapa.
But trainer Tony Pike said he would stick to his original plan and run Sacred Elixir in the Avondale Guineas on Saturday week on the way to next month’s Derby.
“I was always leaning toward the Avondale Guineas for his next run. The timing is much better with the Derby in mind,” Pike told NZRacing.
Pike said Sacred Elixir had raced a little dourly in his first race since the Victoria Derby when he ran fourth as favourite in the Karaka Mile late last month.
“There’s always high expectations with a horse like him and everybody thought he would just blow them away,” Pike said.
“Even though he was fresh-up over a mile, he raced a bit dour. In a slowly-run race, his sectional times were pretty much equal with the winner.
“When you put all that into context, I was pretty happy with him.
We didn’t have a lot of time after Melbourne to get him back so he was always going to be vulnerable first-up.”