Tony Pike and his horses are revelling in the Queensland sun this winter.
The Cambridge trainer has already sent out three winners from a select team he has brought to the Sunshine State, including The Bostonian, who was a surprise winner of the Gr.1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m).
Pike subsequently intended to give The Bostonian four weeks’ between runs and target the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) fresh. But a sparkling gallop on Tuesday has seen those plans change and the son of Jimmy Choux will contest Saturday’s Gr.1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) at Eagle Farm.
“He obviously loves Queensland. He went very well last year and it was a great win first-up this year in the Doomben 10,000,” Pike said.
“He was always nominated for the Kingsford-Smith. With his fresh record there was consideration to not back him up and go straight to the Stradbroke.
“Michael Cahill rode him on Tuesday morning, he galloped him on the course proper at Eagle Farm, and it was an outstanding piece of work.
“We had a discussion with Michael and his owner David Archer after that piece of work on Tuesday.
“Four weeks is a long time in racing, a lot can go wrong, so while the horse is going well and with the form he is in it was a hard race to turn down.
“He seems to thrive over here and it’s a $700,000 Group One race on Saturday so it is nothing to be sneezed at.”
Pike is looking forward to racing at the roomy Eagle Farm track and believes The Bostonian can overcome the tricky draw of 11 in the capacity field of 18.
“He has probably drawn a touch awkwardly in 11 but there is plenty of speed drawn outside him as well,” he said.
“If he can get across, just in behind the speed with cover, I don’t think the Eagle Farm track will hold any worries. He had his first feel of it on Tuesday morning and Michael said he felt fantastic.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Eagle Farm, it has been a while. I’m sure there will be a lot of trainers in the same boat.
“He’s going to go close. He’ll run extremely well, he looks too good in himself and if he gets a bit of luck from that barrier he will be right in the finish.”
The Bostonian started at $41 when successful in the Doomben 10,000, but punters won’t be letting the Kiwi sprinter get under their guards on this occasion, with the gelding a $7.50 second favourite behind the James Cummings-trained Trekking.
Pike will have a dual-pronged attack on the sprint feature, with stablemate Endless Drama also sneaking into the Kingsford-Smith field and Pike is expecting a bold showing from the $40-1 chance ahead of his tilt at the Stradbroke, despite drawing a horror barrier in 18.
“He’s an old hardened campaigner, he is a seven-year-old and he has a great temperament for a stallion,” Pike said.
“His win in the Easter Handicap (Gr.2, 1600m) was very good and he has travelled over in great order. I can’t fault him. His trial at Doomben on Tuesday was very good and apart from the barrier draw, I thought he would be a nice each-way chance on Saturday.
“We are going to have to go a long way back from that gate but as long as they go hard early and hit the line strongly, that is going to set him up nicely for the Stradbroke in two weeks.” – NZ Racing Desk