Pike and Donoghue ready for stakes attack

Last Monday’s Taupo meeting was full of excitement for Cambridge trainers Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue.

The partnership picked up a winning debut with Kelly O’Reilly and gave an insight into what could lay ahead at stakes level over the next few weeks when a couple of other stablemates, Sacred Falls and Waterford did an exhibition gallop between races.

Kelly O’Reilly was most impressive when clearing out on her rivals in the Ascot Farm 3Yo (1200m), franking her trials form which consisted of wins at Cambridge and Waipa.

She impressed rider Vinnie Colgan, who was having his first ride on the daughter of O’Reilly and Grace, and the win was expected by Pike.

“She’s shown a lot of ability all along and should only get better,” said Pike. “Her mother was talented, too, but she had a lot of feet problems.”

Kelly O’Reilly is raced by Pike’s parents, Vicki and Wayne, and is likely to head next to the Listed Soliloquy Stakes at Ellerslie on September 29.

Between times the stable will be tackling Saturday’s Listed $50,000 Westbury Stud Challenge Stakes at Ruakaka with Sacred Falls and Waterford will contest the Group III $70,000 Hawke’s Bay Breeders Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings on September 22

Sacred Falls was ridden in the exhibition gallop by Andrew Calder, while Leith Innes was aboard Waterford. The two promising three-year-olds worked to the line nicely with neither extended.

“I’m happy with the work,” said Pike. “Sacred Falls is more forward than Waterford  and if he goes well on Saturday he could head to Hastings for the Hawke’s Bay Guineas (on October 6).”

Sacred Falls is unbeaten in two starts and has had experience on the Ruakaka track, having won his debut on the course. He will be ridden on Saturday by Leith Innes, who has been his regular trials and raceday rider.

Waterford looks to have thrived during her break and has come back bigger and stronger. She registered a win and two placings from three starts last season, her latest appearance being in the Listed Novotel Champagne Stakes at Ellerslie when third to Swiper The Fox.

Second home in the Champagne Stakes was Twilight Granita, who won the Listed Fordell O’Leary Fillies Stakes at Wanganui last weekend.