Sacred Elixir strolls to J J Atkins win

Kiwi trainer Tony Pike predicted his two-year-old Sacred Elixir would be even better in the Melbourne spring after scoring one of the easiest Group One wins seen in Brisbane for years on Saturday.

Sacred Elixir ($5 favourite) set the huge Eagle Farm crowd alight when he strolled to the lead at the 200m mark and ran away to beat Charnley River ($51) by three-and-a-half lengths in the Group One J J Atkins Stakes (1600m).

Another outsider in Heart Skip A Beat ($101) was one-and-a-quarter lengths back in third.

Sacred Elixir won his first Australian start at the Sunshine Coast last month and then came from last to finish sixth in the BRC Sires at Doomben two weeks ago.

Pike said he had predicted Doomben wouldn’t suit Sacred Elixir and the gelding would be far better at 1600m at the bigger Eagle Farm track.

“The funny thing is that Sacred Elixir isn’t bred to be a two-year-old. But he showed some promise so we gave him a trial and he went so well we decided to give him a start,” he said.

“In that race he was a close second and then he won his next start before having no luck in the Karaka Million at Ellerslie in January.”

After the Million run Pike decided to bring Sacred Elixir to Brisbane to get him ready for the Melbourne spring.

“To be fair he looks more like a three-year-old than a two-year-old, but there is improvement in him,” he said.

“We knew we had a good horse and it is much easier to get them ready here in the winter than at home. His aim is the VRC Derby and I think he has improvement in him heading into the spring.”

Pike has 70 horses in training in New Zealand but brought only three to Australia for the winter.

Sacred Elixir, who is owned by the Raffles Syndicate who have had considerable Group One success in Australia, will spell in Queensland before heading to Melbourne.

Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton was keen to ride Sacred Elixir in the J J Atkins after the BRC Sires run.

“I knew the 1600m and Eagle Farm would be his go. It was just a matter of being on the right horse today,” Purton said.

Jockey Kerrin McEvoy said Charnley River might benefit from having ear muffs as he reacted to noise.

“It was a good run and he moved into the race well but the winner was too strong,” McEvoy said.

Jeff Lloyd said his mount Heart Skip A Beat had appreciated the step up to the 1600m and a bigger track.

James McDonald said his mount Souchez had done a good job in finishing fourth but was probably six months away from being at his best.

Bobby ElIssa predicted fifth placed Dreams A Plenty would be a good 1400m horse later in his career after leading from a wide barrier.

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