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Pike Happy With Sacred Star

Friday, 8th May 2015

Sacred Star (Flying Spur-Irish Nova, by O'Reilly) goes into tomorrow's Gr1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben in almost identical condition as he was leading into his devastating four length victory in the Telegraph Handicap at Trentham earlier this year, according to Cambridge trainer Tony Pike. Pike has followed the same formula as he did for the Telegraph in preparing the dual Gr1 winner for a testing first-up assignment in Saturday's weight-for-age Brisbane sprint. "We've followed a similar path to the BTC Cup that we used leading into the Telegraph," Pike told NZ Racing Desk. "He had three weeks out after the NRM Sprint at Te Rapa and we've given him a 1000m exhibition gallop at Te Rapa, similar to what he did at Tauranga before running in the Telegraph." He added, "Vinnie [jockey Vinnie Colgan] said he was rapt with him in that gallop and we've just kept him ticking over since then. He had a good look around Doomben on Tuesday morning and he worked well. He's pretty fit and pretty fresh - just how we want him going into this race." The Dato Yap San Kim-raced Flying Spur gelding finished fifth in the Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at last year's winter carnival, and Pike is hoping he can go one better in the $2 million feature this year, buoyed by Sacred Star's superior lead-up form. "He's been so good in his last two back home that I wouldn't say he can't win the race on Saturday, even accounting for it being such a hot field with probably eight or nine winning chances," Pike said. "Luck in running will play a big part in determining the winner, especially around Doomben. We've got Tim Bell back on, as Zac Purton, who through Sacred Falls has become Raffles' first-choice rider, was unavailable. Zac could be back on for the Doomben 10,000 and the Stradbroke, which is the main target, but we'll just see what plays out."

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