Summer cups beckon Chenille

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) recapturing her best form when beating Battle Time at Ellerslie yesterday.

Chenille (Danielle Johnson) recapturing her best form when beating Battle Time at Ellerslie yesterday.

Cambridge mare Chenille kicked off a super day for the Tony Pike stable when she returned to form in style at Ellerslie yesterday.

The lightly raced five-year-old was having her third run this campaign and registered her sixth success when she powered home to score decisively in the South Auckland Racing Club 1600.

It was the mare’s first victory since she triumphed in the Listed Hawke’s Bay Gold Cup last April and showed she is ready to make her presence felt in the upcoming summer staying features.

“We’re proud of her today,” said co-owner and breeder Vicki Pike, who was representing the stable with son Tony across the Tasman at Moonee Valley with star three-year-old Sacred Elixir.

“She’s been a difficult mare to get fit with the tracks we’ve had through the winter. We just haven’t been able to get the work into her.”

Pike acknowledged the mare had needed the first two runs in her current preparation, but had felt she was ready to show improvement yesterday.

“She’s a big, gross mare,” she said. “Her first two starts were very similar to last year as she has just taken the time to get fit. Today we expected her to go a much improved run as the weather has been good, but we didn’t expect her to win.

“We’re looking forward to a good season with her now.”

Tony Pike has always felt the mare was a genuine summer cups contender with her programme likely to be aimed at races such as the Gr. 3 Ssanyong Counties Cup (2100m) or Gr. 3 SKYCITY Hamilton Waikato Cup (2400m).

Delighted with the winning performance of Chenille, Pike’s day got even better when Sacred Elixir rounded off his preparation for next week’s Gr. 1 AAMI Victoria Derby with a stirring win in the Gr. 2 LUCRF Super Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

NZ Racing Desk