Boom New Zealand colt Sacred Falls could take on Australia’s best in the autumn after maintaining his unbeaten record in the Group One Two Thousand Guineas in Christchurch.
Unbeaten in five starts prior to Saturday’s 1600m race, Sacred Falls was the $1.60 favourite for the Guineas but had a tougher than expected race at Riccarton, being headed by the filly Oasis Rose with 200m to run.
But the O’Reilly colt, under the urgings of jockey Leith Innes, fought the challenges from Oasis Rose and last season’s top juvenile Warhorse to take the race by a head from the filly, with Warhorse a neck back in third.
“The filly’s run enormous, she was probably one of the last ones I expected to roll up outside him,” co-trainer Tony Pike said.
“Things didn’t entirely go to plan in the run – he’s got there quite early – but they had their chance to run him down. He had a real fight on his hands today but he’s a very good horse.”
Pike said Sacred Falls could look at taking on some of Australia’s best in the Sydney autumn carnival next year.
“He’ll have a break probably for six weeks and we’ll sit down and reassess with the owners, and possibly look at a Sydney campaign over Easter,” Pike said.
New Zealand has already had one successful three-year-old in Australia this season in It’s A Dundeel, winner of the Group One Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in October.
The Riccarton carnival continues this week with feature racing on Wednesday and Saturday when the Thousand Guineas will take centre stage.