Tony Pike is reverting to Plan B to give Sacred Day a chance to keep his Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) hopes alive.
The Cambridge trainer had the Azamour gelding in Wednesday’s Race A Horse With Te Akau 1600m at Te Aroha, but ruled out a start there.
“At this stage, we’re taking eight or 10 to Gisborne on Sunday and it’s a Slow 7 there, but it’s a mostly fine week there so it should be ideal. He can run in a mile or over 2000m.”
Following his runaway maiden success at Hastings earlier this month, Sacred Day has been kept safe at $21 in the market for next month’s Vodafone-sponsored classic at Ellerslie.
“It’s probably coming up a bit quick for him, but if the field continued to drop off and he blew them away on Sunday we might roll the dice – otherwise there’s always Sydney,” Pike said.
Debut-winning Pierro filly Terra Sancta, who holds a nomination for the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m), is another likely to bypass Te Aroha in favour of Gisborne.
“We don’t want her to get knocked around on a heavy track either,” Pike said.
Ocean Park filly Pink Graffiti is close to her breakthrough success and she is likely to take her chance in Wednesday’s Baker & Forsman Racing Stables 1400m.
“She’s promising and I guess it really depends how much more rain they get,” Pike said.
Pink Graffiti has placed in her last two appearances, including a last-start runner-up finish on a Slow 7 track at Matamata.