Cambridge trainer Tony Pike was not surprised that progressive stayer Sacred Day was able to handle the rise in class in yesterday’s Grafton Cup, believing the four-year-old has bigger races in store next preparation.
Sacred Day, who won his previous start in Benchmark 65 Handicap (2240m) company, has now won four of his 16 starts and earned $159,646 in prize-money.
“I always thought he was a progressive stayer and I think he will go on from here… we have always held him pretty high regard,” Pike said.
Country-based jockey Ben Looker celebrated one of his biggest moments in racing when getting Sacred Day home by a long neck over Sopressa, with Vaucluse Bay a further long neck back in third. The New Zealand-trained Igraine started favourite and finished fourth. She will now be retired to the broodmare paddock and will be mated with champion Australian stallion Fastnet Rock in the coming breeding season.
“I had a beautiful run. When he burst through I thought it was too good to be true,” Looker said.
Sacred Day brought up the 41st stakes winner for the late European shuttle stallion Azamour.
The Gilltown Stud-based Azamour, who died in 2014, shuttled to New Zealand stud Brighthill Farm for just one season, in 2013, where he produced 2017 MRC Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) winner Aloisia.