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By Graham Potter | Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The lightly raced three-year-old gelding Sacred Mission landed his second career success in only his fourth start when he ran right away from his opposition in a QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 2100m at Ipswich on May 17.

The son of Scared Falls had been quick to show his potential when winning on debut back on March 23 and, although he had to settle for a minor placing in his next two starts, those two runs served their purpose as they brought Sacred Mission along, both in terms of fitness and race experience.

What trainer David Vandyke was also doing was to methodically step Sacred Mission up in distance in a measured way.

The debut win had come over 1350m. His second and third starts were over 1600m and 1800m respectively (he finished third and second there, coming home less than half-a-length behind the winner on both occasions) which all led to him lining up for this 2100m contest.

Interestingly enough, Vandyke had two runners in the race … Dark Chill and Sacred Mission … and they vied for favouritism with Dark Chill ultimately jumping as a $3.50 favourite with Sacred Mission on the next line of betting at $4.

The close contest predicted between the two Vandyke trained runners never materialized as the race belonged to Sacred Mission a long way out while Dark Chill failed to perform to expectations, finishing well down the field.

Kyle Wilson-Taylor took Sacred Mission into an immediate lead from the break and Sacred Mission looked to be extremely comfortable in that role as he passed the winning post for the first time with his ears pricked.

Wilson-Taylor continued to control the pace up front as Sacred Mission took the field down the back straight, bowling along at a very comfortable gallop. That scenario remained unchanged in the first half of the sweep to the home turn.

Approaching the 600m mark the field started to stack up with Wilson-Taylor waiting as long as he could before asking Sacred Mission to change gears inside the final 500m.

Sacred Mission responded well to Wilson-Taylor’s more vigorous urgings in the saddle, again with ears pricked, and he was still building momentum on straightening, with a large posse of horses chasing hard behind him.

If there was any weakness in Sacred Mission’s makeup at that vital stage of the running, a hoard of runners were waiting to pounce, but Sacred Mission not only shrugged off all of those challenges, but he extended his lead in the first half of the home straight to have the race well and truly won well before the finish line where the official winning margin was recorded as 2.80 lengths.

Any end-to-end win is a good win, particularly over 2100m, and this result lifted Sacred Mission’s race record to two wins and two places from four starts.

Of particular note is that he has already won over distances as diverse as 1350m and 2100m while also displaying his versatility on another level with those wins being achieved on both good and heavy going.

All of that translates to a positive setof circumstances which suggest that Vandyke will have several options with Sacred Mission moving forward, with a tilt as a feature race not out of the question.

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Photos: Graham Potter,
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