McNab and Pike strike again

Michael McNab getting the best out of Raghu to win at Ellerslie today.

Michael McNab getting the best out of Raghu (inner) to win at Ellerslie today.

The final outcome of the NZB Insurance Karaka 3YO Mile at Ellerslie tonight was decided in the inquiry room with Raghu surviving not one but two protests.

The Tony Pike-trained son of Showcasing led throughout to score narrowly in a blanket finish from It’s Ben Again, Tavago and No More Tears. However, both the third and fourth placegetters fired in protests against the first two alleging interference in the home straight.

Video footage confirmed both the winner and runner-up had rolled out several horse widths over the final stages, but the judicial panel eventually dismissed both protests to confirm Raghu the winner.

Fresh off a victory on impressive Trentham performer Skyweka in the Duoro Cup yesterday, rider Michael McNab delivered another knockout blow for Pike when landing the major spoils in the $250,000 contest.

McNab was elated with the win, although he admitted he wasn’t totally convinced of getting the judge’s call.

“I always thought I had them covered, but I was on one rein a little as he’s still learning,” he explained.

“At the line I knew I had Opie covered (rider of It’s Ben Again), but I could see Blake Shinn on Tavago out wider and I thought they might have got the last run at me.

“I couldn’t really get at him as I would have liked but he’s a real improver who has plenty of upside.”

Pike was also delighted with the performance of his charge although that joy was a little tempered when the protest siren sounded.

“I didn’t know on the line and actually thought he’d missed,” said a relieved Pike.

“Michael has ridden him super as I said to him to go forward early and try and control the speed and get them off the bridle on straightening. It was a race dominated on the speed and a great result in a good race.

“He’s a nice colt heading in the right direction. He just switched off at his last start and it wasn’t until the other horse got to him that he tried to kick back.

“We took the blinkers off today and it made all the difference as he fought hard and got the win. We might try for the Derby now as he is out of a Zabeel mare so we will head to one of the Guineas races then decide from there.”

The win set up a race-to-race double for Pike, who produced the impressive Koenigsegg One to win the following race on the card in the hands of Vinnie Colgan.

NZ Racing Desk