The unbeaten three-year-old colt Sacred Falls (NZ) passed his toughest test and took his unbeaten record to six at Riccarton on Saturday, with a determined victory in the $400,000 Group 1 Sothys 40th New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Sacred Falls (O’Reilly x Iguazu's Girl, by Redoute’s Choice) came into the 2000 Guineas a hot favourite after an outstanding win in the Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas in early October and beating tough filly Rollout the Carpet at his last start in the Listed James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes.
Saturday’s Group 1 race was the three-year-old’s main spring target and he produced an impressive performance for his trainers Tony Pike & Mark Donoghue to win by a head.
Second to last at the 600 metres and 10 lengths from the leaders, Sacred Falls was brought wide around the turn by jockey Leith Innes and, in a tough battle, held off the advances of the filly Oasis Rose (Oasis Dream), who ran a cracking race for second, and Warhorse (General Nediym) who produced a determined effort to take third.
The Group 1 victory was the first for trainers Tony Pike & Mark Donoghue and they were overjoyed by Sacred Falls’ performance.
“We are thrilled and also relieved as it’s not easy to stay unbeaten,” said co-trainer Tony Pike.
“Leigh (Innes) rode him like he was the best horse in the race and he proved he was. This was the first time he really had to fight and Oasis Rose and Warhorse really threw down a big challenge but he was at the top of his game.
“He will head to the spelling paddock now and physically he will continue to develop. We will have to sit down in the next week or so and discuss future plans but we are keen to take the horse to Sydney in the autumn for a race like the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas.”
Bred and offered at Karaka by Waikato Stud, Sacred Falls was purchased by Mulcaster Bloodstock from New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2011 Premier Sale for $160,000. He is raced by Dato Yap and Bruce Sherwin’s Raffles Dancers (NZ) Ltd and is unbeaten in six starts with stakes earnings in excess of $370,000.
Sacred Falls is the 10th Group 1 winner for his sire O’Reilly, the sire of 58 stakes winners. Twice New Zealand’s Champion Sire, including last season, O’Reilly currently leads the 2012/13 NZ Sires’ Premiership making a great start to the season courtesy of progeny including Sacred Falls, Silent Achiever and his budding unbeaten son Mosse.
Sacred Falls is the first Group 1 winner for his damsire Redoute’s Choice.
In other news in a rare front-running display, Ready to Run Sale graduate Kullu turned Saturday’s $50,000 Listed Gold Club Metropolitan Trophy (2500m) into a one-horse affair as he destroyed the field by eight lengths at Riccarton.
Trained by Mandy & Matt Brown, Kullu was 15 lengths clear 800 metres from home and maintained his steady gallop in the straight to win by eight lengths in the hands of jockey David Walsh.
Kullu’s (Elvstroem x Way Cool) victory could not have been more timley, with New Zealand Bloodstock’s two-day Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs kicking off on Tuesday next week (20 & 21 November).
After a long absence, the tough sprinter/miler Single Currency (NZ) broke through for a deserved victory at stakes level at Te Rapa on Saturday in the $50,000 Listed Timpson Family Trust Sprint (1200m).
The Bachelor Duke Festival Sale graduate (ex Pennies in Heaven) had knee-chip surgery which saw him side-lined for almost a year but he outclassed his rivals on Saturday, quickening in the final stages to get the better of rival Kasumi (Shinko King) to win by half-a-length with Antonio Lombardo (Pins) finishing third.