Sacred Capital Favourite For Macau Derby

The Joe Lau-trained Sacred Capital confirmed his place as the Macau Derby favorite with another assertive win over 1500m at Taipa on Saturday.

Sacred Capital
Sacred Capital Picture: Macau Jockey Club

With regular rider Peter Ho in the saddle, Sacred Capital hit the line too well for Éclair Sunshine (Frankie Choi) to win by a neck, with last year's Derby runner up Royal Garden (Luis Corrales) running on for third.

While the winning margin was only a neck it was the manner in which Sacred Capital found the wire after traveling on the bridle in fourth spot for most of the race.

Ho cuddled the impressive looking son of "O'Reilly until straightening and only did enough to ensure he landed the prize.

With the SJM Derby only three weeks away, it was obvious that Lau was looking to give the four year old as little to do as possible in Saturday's race.

Joe Lau won his first Macau Derby in 2015 with The Alfonso under Nash Rawiller who destroyed his rivals with a five lengths victory.

Zac Purton then guided Sacred Man to one of the easiest wins in the Blue Riband event with a massive eight and a half lengths win in the race in 2017.

Like The Alfonso and Sacred Man, Sacred Capital is raced by the same connections Chen Ching Lung and Dato K S Yap.

The Alfonso was an outstanding racehorse winning seven races and placing six times from 22 runs; the best effort being an unlucky neck second to Dashing Fellow in the 2016 Group 3 Hong Kong – Macau Trophy at Sha Tin in 2016.

Sacred Capital appears an even brighter prospect as he a much more versatile galloper who has enough early speed to lead middle distance events, and can also sit off the pace and produce a dazzling finish in any type of going.

While yet to win at 1800 metres his run in the G2 Autumn Classic at Caulfield over 1800m and his close sixth beaten 1.7 lengths to ATC Derby winner Levendi in the G3 Carbine Club over 1600m at Flemington suggest that is not an issue.

Main rivals for Sacred Capital appear to be the luckless Éclair Lightning from the Peter Leyshan stable who has had a frustrating run of luck on his past four runs.

Eclair Lightning was knocked out of the race in the MJC 30Th Anniversary Cup over 1500m in March.

Despite losing a good five lengths in the run he still managed to pick himself up off the canvas and charge home for second beaten two and a half lengths to Sacred Capital.

Then followed his third place going to the line on the bridle in the Macau Derby Trial over 1500m behind Big Alloy, after hitting a brick wall in the straight with nowhere to go.

A three wide trip on an unsuitable heavy track followed that run in the G1 Macau Guineas only beaten one and a quarter lengths then he was again a victim of bad luck when beaten seven lengths behind Royal Garden on June 22.

Bring Me Speed from the Victor Chan yard was splendid in winning the Macau Guineas and the 1800 metres will prove no problem for the winner of nine races including two Group 1 events.

However we have seen very little of him at the track since and the only races for him before the Derby are a Class 1 & 2 over 1510 metres on the sand or a 1200m Class 1 & 2 on the turf this weekend.

Luen On Dance Kid from the Geoff Allendorf stable is the winner of six races but just seems a little shy of the top echelon.

Likewise Big Alloy the Derby trial winner from the Alan Tam yard despite his six victories.

An interesting winner on Saturday was the Tony Fung trained Victory Moment who won in a canter in the Class 2 over 1800 metres.

Ridden by Peter Ho the Irish import ambled to the lead at the top of the straight to race away for the easiest of wins.

Victory Moment was originally prepared by Sylvester Kirk at Lambourn where he won three races and placed five times from 17 runs in the UK.

The four year olds time for the 1800 metres of Saturday was a full second quicker than the other division of the Class 2.

The Macallan was another nice winner on Saturday to give Joe Lau a winning double for the day.

Ridden by C F (Charlie) Chan The Macallan drifted wide on the track to beat Magnapegasus (Frankie Choi) in the second division of the Class 2 over 1800 metres.

The four year will also be vying for a Derby spot but looks a bit below the main contenders for the race.

Eight Year old gelding Stallion Treasure powered home strongly from the tail of the field to race away with the Class 5 & 6 over 1800 metres to win his fourth race in the enclave.

The Irish son of Bushranger looked set for retirement but Geoff Allendorf has only had the horse for two runs prior to Saturday and he has shown significant improvement.

"He has a lot of problems mostly back issues that was why he was refusing to jump away from the gates. It's taken awhile but we 've got on top of it for the moment, but he still is a day to day proposition."

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