Commentary Box 9 February 2016

Talk about an embarrassment of riches.

Local trainer Tony Pike must be eagerly anticipating next month’s BMW NZ Derby at Ellerslie. Pike provided the quinella in the feature race at Te Rapa last Saturday, the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas, in RANGIPO and RAGHU.

One of the traditional lead up races to the NZ Derby, the Waikato Guineas has proven to be a great guide in recent years. Four of the last five winners of the Waikato Guineas have gone on to win the NZ Derby, and Pike will be hoping that trend continues.

RANGIPO scored a narrow win in the Darci Brahma Waikato Guineas over his stablemate RAGHU and another Cambridge trained runner GET THAT JIVE, in a thrilling three way finish.

To most pundits, including a certain Maori commentator, RAGHU looked to have gained the upper hand right on the line. His rider Michael McNab was pretty sure his mount had won. “There wasn’t much in it, but I thought my bloke had done enough.” said McNab later.

Vinny Colgan, who rode RANGIPO, was also sure his mount had been beaten.
“I wasn’t sure, but I thought we’d been beaten.” said the in-form Colgan.

Pike was being interviewed on Trackside before the Judge’s call, and when pressed felt RAGHU had done enough to win. Like nearly everyone else, Pike was surprised when RANGIPO got the verdict. “Regardless of who won, I’m rapt the way both horses finished off the race, they were strong at the line.” said Pike.

Third placegetter GET THAT JIVE, trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, also did his Derby prospects no harm with his bold effort. Rider Opie Bosson was thrilled with his effort. “He hasn’t raced for several weeks and he’s going to improve greatly with that run under his belt.” said Bosson.

It was Pike though who had the biggest smile on his dial after the race. Adding to Pike’s confidence from a Derby perspective is the fact he’ll probably have another Derby runner in PROVOCATIVE. The ZABEEL filly created a huge impression when winning at Ellerslie last Thursday. The lightly raced filly is still a work in progress, as evidenced by a tendency to race greenly down the home straight, but boy has she got some gears.

Looks like a few sleepless nights coming up “Pikey”.

Pike also prepared PARKER’S PIECE to win at Te Rapa. Ridden by Vinny Colgan, PARKER’S PIECE dominated her rivals over 1200m after finding the lead shortly after the start. Colgan eased the tempo mid race before kicking his mount clear on straightening. “Two strides into the straight and I thought we’d win.” said Colgan later.
It was the third win from eight starts for the Hong Kong owned PARKER’S PIECE.

Finally the other Cambridge winner on the day was LUEN YAT MIRACLE. The Shane Crawford trained galloper scored an upset win at odds of 33 – 1 with Brendan Hutton aboard. The win was a welcome change of luck for Hutton, who only recently returned to race riding after a frustrating run of injuries.

I’ll catch you next week.