Raw talent shines through

Provocative giving rider Leith Innes a tough time when winning on debut at New Plymouth.

Provocative giving rider Leith Innes a tough time when winning on debut at New Plymouth. (Photo: Race Images, PN).

Provocative is far from the finished article, but the well-bred filly already has trainer Tony Pike daring to dream.

The three-year-old daughter of Zabeel made a winning debut at New Plymouth yesterday despite doing everything she could to beat herself.

“She’s a highly-talented filly, but she is still very much a work in progress,” said Pike. “She had one trial and she needed another one, but there aren’t any trials until the middle of January so we decided to give her a race.

“She’s going to continue to improve with experience. She’s a gorgeous type.”

Nominated for both the Gr. 1 BMW NZ Derby and the Gr. 1 Wellfield NZ Oaks, Provocative proved a difficult ride for Leith Innes yesterday after taking a wayward path in the run home.

“She was very green and if she had done everything right she would have won by three or four lengths,” said Pike. “We’ll just take her along quietly, but hopefully she will end up in one of those better races next year.”

A $250,000 Karaka yearling purchase, Provocative is out of the Gr. 3 Tasmanian Derby winner Betwixt and is raced by Auckland owners Robin Peel-Walker and Mark Wyborn.

Meanwhile, Pike has yet to confirm a start for his rising staying star Sacred Master in the Dunstan Feeds Championship Qualifier at Ellerslie on Friday.

“He’s been re-handicapped to 59kg and he’s come through his last run without a problem,” he said. “I’ll talk to the owners and then decide. There are a lot of options for him.”

Sacred Master won his fourth races from nine starts with a dominant performance against the Rating 85 stayers on Boxing Day to cut his Gr. 1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup odds to $14.

– NZ Racing Desk.