First step towards NZ Derby

It’s a long way to the Group I NZ Derby at Ellerslie, but Cambridge three-year-old Carrick took a positive step towards the 2400-metre classic in March when winning impressively at Te Teko today.

Carrick made his debut in the Just Energy Sprint (1200m) and what he did stamped him as a horse who could work through the grades in fine style this campaign. A son of the versatile sire Shinko King, Carrick has shown promise in two leadup trials for Cambridge trainers, Tony Pike (pictured) and Mark Donoghue,
winning a juvenile 850-metre heat at Te Awamutu last May then finishing third in a 700-metre Paeroa trial last month.

Pike said he was unsure about kicking Carrick’s campaign off at the Te Teko meeting, especially over 1200 metres, but after watching his horse perform he is glad he opted to go to the course, which was downgraded from dead to firm before his race.

Carrick had impressed rider Leith Innes in his two trials, so much so that he made the trip down to Te Teko from South Auckland to take the ride. And Carrick lived to up expectations, coming from off the pace with a strong finish to win by two and a quarter lengths from the pacemaker One Hipp Chick,  who is trained at Cambridge by Shaune Ritchie and was ridden by Cambridge apprentice Alex Forbes.

“He’s got plenty of scope about him and I like him a lot,” said Innes. “He won it well and he should go on with it.”

Pike was expecting a winning effort from Carrick after the horse’s recent Paeroa trial. “Leith hauled him back at the start to teach him a bit and he flew home,” said Pike. “Anyone that saw that trial would have been on him today.”

Carrick got off balance a shade coming round the home turn today, but when balanced was always going to win.

Pike prepares Carrick for Lynton Ltd, a company of which he is a member as well as his parents Wayne and Vicki Pike, who were also on hand for the win.

“I bought him privately from Henk Smit, who stands Shinko King (at Paxton Park),” said Pike. “Michael Wallace told me about him and another horse. I bought them both as weanlings and the other one won a trial by six lengths and we’ve sold him to Hong Kong.”

Pike is unsure what to do next with Carrick.”I want to get him to the Derby and I’ve got to give him a spell somewhere along the line,” said Pike. “I might put him out now and then he can come back and go straight through.”

Pike already knows what is needed to get to the New Zealand Derby as he prepared Historian to finish second to Jimmy Choux in last year’s classic.

Historian didn’t start racing until November 2 as a three-year-old when second at Awapuni and he won his next two starts at Ellerslie before finishing second to smart filly Banchee over 1600, also at Ellerslie.

Pike and Donoghue then stepped him up to the Group III Waikato Guineas and the result was a third to Jimmy Choux, after which he was fourth to Icepin in the Group II Avondale Guineas, his final leadup to the Derby.

“This horse has already been up for a long time and it was a bit different with Historian,” said Pike.

Cambridge stables picked up another two wins today, the first being with Zankuro, a newcomer to Don Sellwood’s stable. Zankuro, a son of the good racemare Deebee Belle, had previously been trained by Jason Bridgman and has recorded a win from eight starts.

Zankaro was considered a Derby possibility last year, but his form tailed off and he was put aside after finishing last at Ellerslie last January. Since then Chris Grace, the owner of the top filly Anabandana, has joined the ownership and Zankuro has become a stablemate of Anabandana.

In the hands of Matt Cameron, Zankuro squeezed through a narrow gap in the final stages of the Team Wealleans 1200 and won by a length.

The final race today was won by the longshot Cugar Park, who was a pick up ride for apprentice Rory Hutchings. Cugar Park was to be ridden by Chad Ormsby, who couldn’t make the ride.

Trained by Graeme Thomas and Paul Mirabelli, Cugar Park had been unplaced in two starts, but blinkers were put on today and the result was a barnstorming finish to win convincingly.