Quality three-year-old Surely Sacred will head to the spelling paddock for a well-deserved break after a rewarding Classic season.
The Rock ‘N’ Pop gelding ran home well to finish third in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday and trainer Tony Pike was happy enough with the result on the rain-affected track.
“We could have had improved track conditions, that was our biggest concern,” he said.
“Saturday was similar to the Rosehill Guineas (G1, 2000m), he travelled up like the winner and then just really struggled to get off the bridle in those heavy track conditions.
“He was brave, he was three deep the trip in the middle with cover and he looked like the winner turning in but he again just struggled in the track conditions, but he has done a great job this preparation.”
His three-year-old campaign has included victories in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) and Group 2 Auckland Guineas (1600m), and a runner-up performance in the Group 3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m).
While Surely Sacred wasn’t able to notch a win at elite-level this preparation, Pike said he was gallant in all three runs and he is looking forward to spring racing with his talented runner.
“He was very unlucky in the New Zealand Derby (G1, 2400m) and was a good third in the ATC Derby so he is an exciting horse going forward,” Pike said.
“I think we will take him home now and give him a good break.
“It is his first racing preparation. He won his maiden back at Te Rapa in the spring so he has done a great job to stay up this long. I think to head to Queensland would probably be a step too far.
“He will head home now for a well-deserved break and we will start looking at some nice races in the spring for him.
“It will depend on how he spells and how he comes up. We will look at the Hawke’s Bay Carnival or maybe some of the lesser races in Melbourne in the spring.
“There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then, so we will see how well he spells and how well he comes up in the spring.”
Meanwhile, stablemate Intrigue will have her first tilt at black-type company later this month when she contests the Group 2 Valachi Downs Championship Stakes (2100m).
The three-year-old daughter of Showcasing impressed Pike with her win at Counties on Sunday, which has all but solidified a trip across the Tasman for the Cambridge galloper.
“We have always had a lot of time for her, it has taken a fair while for her to put things together as she was a bit of an immature filly earlier on,” Pike said.
“The first couple of starts she was quite laid back and a bit new and dumb, she didn’t really put things together. She was impressive at Te Aroha and Leith (Innes, jockey) gave her a big rap that day and she was extremely dominant on Sunday.
“I don’t know how strong the field was but a couple of those runners have come out of the New Zealand Oaks (Gr.1, 2400m) and she looked the winner a long way from home and she put a good margin on them late.
“We always thought that if we got her to put it together quick enough we could get her to Queensland for the Oaks (G1, 2400m).”