Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is keen to run stakes performers Intrigue and Indecision at the Gold Coast on Saturday, but there is little room for error in terms of the travel arrangements.
Pike has seven horses set to fly to Brisbane from Auckland on Friday and can ill afford any delays with the duo set to compete 24 hours later.
“The trip over is probably no different to going to Wellington for a meeting down there. It is probably easier,” Pike said.
“They will run on Saturday as long as the plane schedule goes to plan. I think they are due to arrive about 10:50am Queensland time. As long as all that goes to plan and they travel well and I am happy with them over night, then they will run on Saturday.
“We are staying at Eagle Farm which is quite handy as it is only 10 minutes from the airport.”
Pike has made no secret of the high-regard in which he holds three-year-old filly Intrigue, the winner of two of her five starts and a gallant runner-up last start in the Gr.2 Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie.
The daughter of Showcasing will contest Saturday’s Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) where banking some more prize money to ensure she gains a start in Queensland’s Classic races is the name of the game.
“It is probably not ideal coming back in trip from the 2100m, but it is the path over there and we need to get some prize money,” Pike said.
“As it is, she was lucky to get into the race as she was the last one on the list before the ballots.
“The way she travels in her races I’m not too worried (about coming back in trip). She almost got there too soon the other day at Ellerslie. She is going to start from seven of 14 which is probably ideal around the Coast.
“She is not a dour stayer. She will probably find a spot midfield, one off and it would just be nice if she could run in the top three to get enough prize money to guarantee an Oaks (Gr.1, 2200m) start.”
Pike said depending on how Intrigue performs on Saturday, consideration would be given as to whether she contests the Gr.3 The Roses (2000m) a fortnight later, while a tilt at the Gr.1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 was not out of the question, particularly given the Oaks is to be run at the tighter Doomben circuit over the non-traditional distance of 2200m.
“She probably will head to The Roses,” Pike said.
“It would give her an opportunity to look around Doomben and give her the option, with Mark (co-owner Mark Wyborn) being a big Derby fan, if she goes bang, bang and looks super to either bypass the Oaks or if she wins well on Saturday risk The Roses and run in the Oaks and then the Derby a week later.”
Like Intrigue, three-time Listed winner Indecision will be ridden by Leith Innes on Saturday and Pike believes the daughter of Per Incanto is well-placed to perform at her best fresh-up.
“She trialled very well at Waipa and then had an exhibition gallop at Te Rapa last Saturday,” Pike said.
“She always goes well in a fresh state and we probably couldn’t have her going any better to be fair.
“It is a step up to Australian sprinting company, but she is against her own sex and has drawn a good gate in barrier three. If she could gain some Australian black-type before heading to stud then it would be a huge benefit for Brent and Cherry (Taylor of Trelawney Stud who own the mare).
“The fillies and mares are probably the best horses to take over there, there is pretty much a race for her every week for the next two months.
“There are plenty of options but it is the start of the carnival and the interstate horses are coming up so we will see where she fits in the scheme of things.”
While Pike has seven horses earmarked to travel to Brisbane on Friday he also has another couple in mind to join their stablemates a week later.
“It is just the way it has worked out,” Pike said.
“Some of the open class horses are above average and there is nothing in New Zealand for them after the Easter Handicap. We thought we would roll the dice and head over there as there are some nice options at the top-end and if you don’t quite match up there, then there are tier down options as well.
“They can winter in Queensland and have a bit of a break and then get ready for racing back here during the Christmas period.”
One of the horses in consideration to join the Queensland touring party is talented juvenile Whiskey Neat, the winner of two of three starts, who runs in Saturday’s Listed Waikato Equine Veterinary Centre 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Te Rapa.
“He trialled well and there is probably a little bit of improvement in him fitness-wise,” Pike said. “He is not fully wound-up but it is only 1100m and he is very well off at set-weights in that race.
“We could think about the Sires Produce (Gr.2, 1400m) or something like that, we will just wait and see what the two-year-olds look like up in Queensland after the weekend.” – NZ Racing Desk