D Day for Provocative

Provocative scoring easily at Ellerslie in her third start. The Queensland Oaks looms for her.

Provocative scoring easily at Ellerslie in her third start. The Queensland Oaks looms for her.

Tony Pike is hoping the next two Te Rapa race meetings will boost his chances for an attack on the Queensland Winter Carnival.

The Cambridge trainer plans to possibly take a team of five horses to Brisbane this winter with NZ Derby winner Rangipo and dual Group One winner Sacred Star heading the squad.

Sacred Elixir, a talented two-year-old, is also booked on the flight, as is Derby placegetter Raghu, and Pike is keen to see Provocative also on the confirmed list.

Both Raghu and Provocative will have lead-up runs in New Zealand, starting at Te Rapa on April 30 and a week later respectively, and in the case of the latter the pressure is on.

“We’d like to take Provocative over for the Doomben Roses and Queensland Oaks, but she needs to get her prizemoney up,” said Pike.

“She has won $18,000 and she needs to win close on $30,000 to be assured of a start. She’ll run at Te Rapa (on May 7) in a Rating 75 1600 metres and she really needs to win it.”

The $22,500 Te Rapa event carries a winning prize of $14,060 and if she succeeds Pike believes she will be very competitive in the two Queensland features.

“She’s definitely good enough,” said Pike. “She’s had a couple of gallops back in and she looks good.”

Provocative, a daughter of Zabeel, won two of her first three starts and was most impressive when scoring by four lengths over 2100 metres in her third start. She then ran sixth behind Rangipo in the Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas after being held up in the run home.

Provocative was to be part of a three-pronged attack by Pike on the NZ Derby, but after galloping a few days earlier a slight leg injury was discovered and she was withdrawn from the feature.

Pike went close to providing the quinella in the NZ Derby with Raghu finishing third, just a head away from second, and he has a second opportunity to land a Derby win with his Brisbane aim being the Gr. 1 A600,000 Queensland Derby on June 11.

“He had two weeks off after the (NZ) Derby and he has thrived,” said Pike. “He’ll run at the Cambridge meeting at Te Rapa (April 30) in a three-year-old 1600 metres then have two lead-ups in Brisbane to the Queensland Derby. He’ll run in the Grand Prix and Rough Habit Plate.

“Obviously the form from our Derby has held up so he’s got to be a good chance.”

Tavago went on from his sixth in the NZ Derby to win the A$2 million Australian Derby, while Derby runner-up What’s The Story. The fillies Capella and Valley Girl also acquitted themselves very well in Sydney after finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the NZ Derby.

If all falls into place for Pike, the June 11 meeting at Eagle Farm will be an exciting day for his stable with Queensland Derby prospect Raghu being joined by stablemates Sacred Star (Gr. 1 A$1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap), Sacred Elixir (Gr. 1 A$600,000 J.J. Atkins) and Rangipo (Gr. 2 A$400,000 Queensland Guineas).

Rangipo, who took all before him on his path to the NZ Derby, will resume in the Gr. 3 A$125,000 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 21.