Cambridge trainer Tony Pike spent Sunday morning contemplating some mixed results from the racing action at Pukekohe twenty-four hours earlier where his stable picked up an impressive victory with Rudyard in the last race on the day after some frustrating placings earlier.
A sensational ride from Ryan Elliot secured victory for Rudyard (NZ) (Charm Spirit) who jumped from the extreme outside barrier (16) in the rating65 1600m contest, but flashed home along the rail to beat out Amberite, Kenobi and Armino in a thrilling finish that saw just a neck separate the four runners.
Rudyard (white and green colours) prevails in a tight finish at Pukekohe on Saturday. Photo: Trish Dunell
Pike admitted he had considered pulling the four-year-old son of Charm Spirit and triple Group Two winner Lady Kipling out of the event when he saw the barrier draw.
“I was seriously contemplating scratching him when he drew the outside, but we kept him in and asked Ryan to ride him for luck,” Pike said.
“It was a great ride as he got across to the rail and found a needle eye gap at the 100m and the horse finished very powerfully to get up.
“He has been a real work in progress as his manners have let him down in the past but that should be a real confidence builder for him.
“Ryan was pretty bullish afterwards on where he can go from here so I don’t think a step up in grade will necessarily find him out and there is some nice prizemoney to chase in the next few months.”
Earlier on the card Pike was left scratching his head a little after exciting juvenile Poetic Champion was beaten into third in the Listed Counties Challenge Sakes (1100m) behind impressive winner Velocious.
“On the face of it he was a little disappointing although you can’t take anything away from the winner as she was very very good and we were fairly beaten,” he said.
“I will sit down and have a look at the sectionals for some analysis as they may have gone a touch hard early on which didn’t leave him a real kick in the straight.
“He fought on alright but we will have a little regroup, see how he walks out on Monday and then look at the next step for him.”
Pike also picked up a placing with Slipper Island but was left rueing a lack of racing luck for Roederer who charged home late to finish fourth in his rating75 1600m contest.
“Slipper Island was good in his first run back from a break,” he said.
“He looked likely at the 300m but felt the pinch towards the end so he should be cherry ripe next up.
“Roederer came from near last on the home bend to get fourth and with a little more luck he could have finished a lot closer.
“He has plenty of ability and shouldn’t be hard to place over the next few weeks.”