Carrick heads happy day for Cambridge duo

Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue had three good reasons to be in a happy mood leaving the Taupo racecourse last Monday.

The Cambridge training duo saddled up two winners, Best Command and Feel One, and had their NZ Derby placegetter Carrick on hand for an exhibition gallop between races with He’s Remarkable.

Within just five starts last season, Carrick went from a maiden winner over 1200 metres on debut at Te Teko on October 26 to finishing a gallant third behind Silent Achiever and Rock ‘N’ Pop in the Group I $750,000 Telecom NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie just over four months later.

Between times Carrick picked up a second-up win at Tauranga, a close second at Te Teko and a third to Silent Achiever in the Group II Avondale Guineas.

What Carrick showed last campaign suggested he could come back stronger and better this time around. And that certainly looked the case when watching him do his exhibition gallop in the hands of Leith Innes.

Carrick was always travelling nicely in his work and he went to the line full of running and clear of He’s Remarkable, who surprisingly lost a Group One on protest in Perth.

Innes was most impressed with the workout and is looking forward to a successful season with the son of Shinko King, while Pike and Donoghue weren’t surprised by the good work.

“He’s developed a lot more with his break and what he did last time around all off one preparation was huge,” said Pike. “He’s coming up really well, but he won’t be going to Hastings for the first day of the big carnival. Instead he will run in an open 1400 metres at Ellerslie on Great Northern day, which is the same day as Hastings. “

If Carrick pleases in the Ellerslie outing he will be at Hastings a fortnight later for the Group I Windsor Park Stud Stakes (wfa 1600m).

“A lot will depend on the weather,” said Pike. “He likes a dead track and as long as there’s some easing of the ground we might press on here with him. The other option is to take him to Sydney for a couple of races, not big ones, but just ones to let him work through the grades. I want him to have a soft spring then look for something like the Brisbane Cup next year. “

There was much to like about the winning debut of Carrick’s stablemate Best Command in the Pitch Sports Bar 1000. The Australian-bred daughter of Court Command was always in control and when asked for an effort in the run home by rider Leith Innes she lengthened stride to score by three lengths from another Cambridge galloper, Gisela, who ran on well.

Best Command is raced by Raffles Dancers Pty Ltd and was making her second public appearance. She had earned favouritism for last Monday’s event through winning attractively at the Te Teko trials 13 days earlier.

“She hasn’t been easy, but she’s kept improving,” said Pike. “The trials win surprised us as she hadn’t done a lot on wet tracks and it was heavy that day. She could get ready for some of the three-year-old fillies races.”

Feel One picked up his win in the Haunui Farm Stallions 1300 and he did it nicely, kicking on to score by three-quarters of a length from Vanilla, from the Cambridge stable of Mark Fraser-Campin and Chris Campin.

Feel One was fresh-up and ridden by Vinnie Colgan, who was very pleased with the effort.