Sacred Star returned to the form which saw him up with the best sprinters in the Brisbane winter carnival with a dominating Group One win in the Telegraph Handicap at Trentham.
Topweight for the 1200-metre race, Sacred Star stormed through the middle of the track for jockey Vinny Colgan to thrash Designated Driver and Trepidation.
Sacred Star won the QTC Cup last winter before running an unlucky fifth in the Stradbroke Handicap, but he disappointed throughout the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.
He hadn’t raced since that carnival and was a neglected $27 shot but trainer Tony Pike had him back to his best at Trentham.
“I was confident we had him back in good shape but it’s not an easy race first-up so we didn’t quite know how things would go,” Pike told Trackside.
“But we knew he was well up to this level after his runs in Brisbane. Not a lot of New Zealand horses can be competitive in races like the Stradbroke.”
Pike said Sacred Star was likely to head to the Waikato Sprint at Te Rapa in early February, where he was placed last year.
Matamata trainer Danica Guy’s two top chances Tomorrowland and In Style were unplaced but she got ample compensation earlier in the day in the Group One Levin Classic when Gaultier won at long odds.
Gaultier hadn’t won in four starts, his best placing being a third, but he was gelded after failing at Ellerslie on December 28 and it did wonders for his racing ability after he came from last to beat Sardaaj and Huka Eagle.
“I was really looking forward today. He has improved so much since we gelded him,” Guy said.
“He always had the ability, it was just a matter of getting him switched on during the race.”
Guy said Gaultier would be aimed for the New Zealand Derby (2400m) at the end of February.