Party time for Pike at Ruakaka

Jan 4, 2018

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is heading north to Ruakaka on Saturday with seven runners and rates Sacred Party as his best chance.

The Excelebration three-year-old will line-up in the Remembering Ila Johnson (Grandma J) (1600m) and Pike believes improved racing manners will see him better his last-start third at Tauranga.

Tony Pike Photo: Trish Dunell Photography

“Sacred Party is a nice progressive horse,” he said. “He’d have to beat Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs’ Tavistock horse Tavlin, but he has been a work in progress.

“He has still done a bit wrong in his two races to date, but he’s worked well since and from gate seven I think he is one of my better chances for the day.”

Other runners that he expects strong runs from include Walkin’ By in the NZB Insurance Pearl Series (1200m) and Poppy Star in The Whangaripo Valley Free Range Egg Cup (1600m).

“Walkin’ By has had good form, she ran second behind quite a smart horse at Matamata. It’s probably one of the stronger races of the day, but she’s going to get a great trip from gate two and should be hard to beat in the pearl series race,” Pike said.

“Poppy Star is in solid form at the moment, she was strong finishing third last start over 1400m at Matamata and the step up to 1600m should suit her.”

For one at longer odds, Pike suggests punters consider debutant Okoto in the Trigg Construction (1400m).

“I have got a filly in the last called Okoto by Savabeel, she’s a nice big staying filly. She’s only had the one barrier trial, but she’s very talented. I’d say she’ll run a big race at good odds.”

Meanwhile, Pike is eyeing Trentham later this month for two of his stable runners whose New Year’s Day at Ellerslie was hampered by inclement weather.

The rain forced the scratching of Sacred Star from the Gr.1 Sistema Railway (1200m) and led to a disappointing run from quality three-year-old Haussmann in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m).

“Haussman got tripped up by the tempo of the run and track conditions, so I’m just going to rule a line through that race and it’s likely he will head down to Trentham for the Levin Classic,” Pike said.

“Sacred Star will now head to the Telegraph. Wherever he goes it seems to rain.

“It’s unfortunate, but he’s won the Telegraph before in a fresh state so. He will possibly trial at Cambridge next week then head down to Wellington.” – NZ Racing Desk.