Trainer Tony Pike is hoping a strong run for victory in this weekend’s Group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm Racecourse will translate into a position in the final field for next week’s major Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) for Sacred Star.
A standout performer in notable events in New Zealand over late 2013/early 2014, Sacred Star is currently offered as clear favourite in betting markets for success in the QTC Cup and will need to win the claim a ballot-free entry into the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival’s headline event on June 7th.
Claiming a strong barrier trial with ease at Doomben on May 13th, Pike told Sky Racing he is thrilled with the form of the Flying Spur gelding ahead of this weekend’s first-up appearance across the ditch this time in, and is expecting to return to Eagle Farm one week later for the Stradbroke.
“That was the plan,” Pike said of gaining ballot-free entry into the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap.
“Obviously he was never going to make the Stradbroke field off his racing and we targeted the QTC Cup with the hope that he could back up in the Stradbroke the week after.
“His trial was very good at Doomben two weeks ago and he runs well fresh and his work since he has been here in Queensland has been outstanding.
“That barrier draw is going to help him and he is definitely in there with a good chance.
“He has progressed well in his last preparation and he is up the Group 1 horses back home.
“We are just hoping that he is competitive on Saturday.”
Claiming five wins and two places from just 16 competitive starts to date, Sacred Star began his racing career under the care under leading trainer Chris Waller in 2012 before being transferred to Pike’s kiwi stables in 2013.
Returning to racing in arguably career best form in his most recent preparation, the four-year-old claiming three impressive victories back-to-back straight up and continued to build in form an class on his way to a strong third in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) and unlucky second in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) on February 8th.
Yet to appear in early betting markets for the 2014 Stradbroke Handicap, a victory in the QTC Cup for Sacred Star is sure to cause ripples leading into Brisbane’s headline race.
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