Trainer Tony Pike’s winter carnival is off to an impressive start with a midweek winner and he hopes stable stalwart Sacred Star can follow up with a Group One victory.
The Pike-trained Sacred Elixir is headed to the Group Two BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes and Group One JJ Atkins Stakes double after winning at the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday.
Now the New Zealand trainer’s attention has switched to Saturday where six-year-old Sacred Star opens his third Brisbane campaign in the Group One BTC Cup at Doomben.
Sacred Star burst on to the stakes scene when he won the 2014 QTC Cup at Eagle Farm before being an unlucky fifth in the Group One Stradbroke Handicap.
The gelding was back for another crack at the Stradbroke last year when sixth behind Srikandi when he again had no luck.
In between his Brisbane visits Sacred Star has won the Group One Telegraph Stakes and Group One NRM Sprint in New Zealand.
He showed he still had plenty of dash in winning the Group Three Darley Plate at Ellerslie on March 5.
Pike said he hoped it would be a case of third-time lucky, but he also hoped the younger horses hadn’t caught up with Sacred Star.
“I suppose there is a case to say he should have gone close to winning the past two Stradbrokes. Things just didn’t go our way,” Pike said.
“But whether he fronts up for a third go at the race and also the Doomben 10,000 is a matter of how he goes on Saturday.
“If he doesn’t race up to scratch we will drop him back a grade or so. There are plenty of other races for him.
“He isn’t getting any younger and with these older horses the time comes when the younger ones catch up to them.”
Pike will miss Saturday’s Doomben meeting because he has runners in New Zealand.