From the Commentary Box – Monday, 5th May 2014


Tony Pike enjoyed another successful day at the office last Saturday

The affable Cambridge trainer came away from Te Rapa with an enviable 100% strike rate. Pike lined up three runners and all three were successful. Leading the onslaught was promising three year old Allez Eagle who was sent out an even money favourite by punters. Allez Eagle was resuming after an enforced break from racing. “His last start was in the Sarten Memorial way back in October when things went pear shaped for him through no fault of his own” explained Pike.

Allez Eagle had impressed many when making an impressive winning debut a few weeks before the Sarten Memorial. On the strength of that performance he was installed one of the favourites for the race. Unfortunately, a rival in the next stall lashed out and Allez Eagle suffered lacerations to his legs. “He was cleared to start by the Club Vet but it was pretty obvious he wasn’t himself and he finished well back” said Pike.

Knowing the potential Allez Eagle has, Pike abandoned any thoughts of targeting some of the important three year old classics preferring to nurse his promising galloper back to full fitness. “This horse is very good potentially and it was important to get him over any lingering doubts after what happened last time” said Pike. After watching him win last Saturday at Te Rapa, it was obvious Allez Eagle has put those doubts to rest. He was super impressive when winning over 1200m with Rory Hutchings aboard. “He travelled beautifully throughout and it was just a matter of letting him go” said the in form apprentice later.

For Pike it was mission accomplished.”The important thing was he showed he is back to his best and now that he has we can look forward to the future” said Pike.

Pike’s other two winners were Polish and Bellbird.Polish who races in the colours of Waikato Stud, scored a narrow but brave win over 1200m. Also ridden by Rory Hutchings, Polish got a lovely run trailing the leaders from a handy barrier draw. “Everything panned out beautifully from her draw and although the runner up (Trendsetter) challenged hard over the final stages she really fought strongly” said Hutchings later. Pike’s third winner was Bellbird ridden by local rider Mark Hills. Bellbird caught punters napping, returning odds of nearly 18 to 1 in downing another local Aaja Nachle. Expertly ridden by Hills, Bellbird came with a powerful finishing burst to over haul the pace maker Aaja Nachle near the post. “Mark rode a lovely race and she was able to pick up the leader quite nicely” commented Pike.

It will be a busy time for Pike over the next few weeks. He along with what seems the rest of the NZ racing fraternity will be campaigning a team of horses at the up coming Queensland Winter Carnival. “I will have a team of horses there including NZ Oaks place getter Rock Diva so hopefully the winning roll will continue” said Pike.

Kool Gal trained by Shane Crawford capped off a good day at Te Rapa for the locals when winning the last race on the programme at Te Rapa. Kool Gal led home a Cambridge trained trifecta with Addictive Habit, trained by Lee Somervell second and Red Dakota (Chris Wood) in third spot. Kool Gal was ridden by another in form jockey Craig Grylls, who recently rode his 500th winner. “She got a nice run and it was a matter of getting a clear run at them ” said Grylls. Kool Gal is racing solidly and should continue her good run of form in the near future.

I’ll catch you next week.