Sacred Mountain "up against it" in today's Breeders' Stakes

By Barry Lichter

Sacred Mountain might have smashed her rivals at Auckland on Friday night but trainer Nicky Chilcott knows how hard it will be for her to repeat the win in today's Dunstan Horse Feeds Breeders’ Stakes at Cambridge, especially now that she has been rehandicapped to 40 metres.

Sacred Mountain will share the back mark with Resolve in Cambridge’s $40,000 Group 3 race, forced to give away a 10 metre head start to the flying southern mare Sunny’s Sister, fresh from a dominant double at Nelson.

“She’s certainly up against it from that mark in a big 14-horse field and the 2700 metres is not her best distance,” Chilcott said.

“While she’s gone some really good races over 2700, she’s way more potent over a short trip, like Friday’s mile.

“But she won’t disgrace herself as she’s really in the zone.”

Chilcott will hand over the reins on Monday to Sailesh Abernethy so she can pilot stablemate KD Royalty, who starts from the unruly position on the front line, but says that’s no reflection on their respective chances.

“I feel terrible getting off Milly because she’s flying and looks the better chance. She’s really improved this preparation and has gone to a new level, but whether it’s high enough to be competitive with the very best only time will tell.

“She’s an open class trotter now and there’s nowhere to hide. We won’t get any more gimmees like Friday night.”

Chilcott said Sacred Mountain won so easily at Alexandra Park she didn’t even pull the hood.

“She could have won by 10 lengths, not three. I stopped driving her 100 out because she was well clear and I let her cruise to the line. She could have gone round again.”

The mare clocked a sedate 2:00.2 for the mile, a distance outside her career best of 1:56.7 as the expected challenge from second favourite All Cashed Up petered out in the run home.

“I knew I was giving it the walk in front but there was no point going harder - you don’t get paid for breaking records.”

Sacred Mountain, gifted a cheap 33.1 mid-section, “just flopped along on a loose rein until All Cashed Up, pushed out three wide 900 metres from home, moved up down the back straight.

“When she heard them coming, it was all on and round the bend, man, was she smokin’.”

Sacred Mountain ran home in 57.9 and 28.9 to score her 11th win, all but two of them for Chilcott.

The $11,000 winning stake took the Muscle Hill six-year-old’s earnings to $154,132, climaxing an exciting night for Melbourne owners Merv and Meg Butterworth who were on course to see the triumph.

Earlier, the couple heard their former White Star trotter Son Of A Sun easily win at Stawell in Victoria, registering his second win from three starts since being exported to Australia.

“It was a thrill for me to win with Milly when Merv and Meg were here,” Chilcott said. “She’s a nice mare and I’m lucky to have her.”

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