Cambridge Trainer Tony Pike is hopeful the good times can continue to roll when he saddles Cyber Attack in the Stella Artois 3YO Plate (1400m) at Eagle Farm, in Brisbane, on Saturday.
The Kiwi horseman has had a fruitful Queensland Winter Carnival, most notably landing a Group One double with The Bostonian, while barnmate Endless Drama placed third in the Gr.1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Although Cyber Attack was a later addition to the touring party to Queensland, Pike was pleased with his first-up performance when a luckless seventh in the Listed Daybreak Lover Stakes (1200m) and believes the son of Shamexpress can measure up on Saturday.
“It was quite a good race and, barring bad luck, he probably doesn’t win but he might have run second. I was pretty happy with the run and he had no luck in the straight at all,” Pike said.
“The top-weight is going to be hard to beat on Saturday, a horse called Vega One, but
he's drawn a good gate and I'd be surprised if he's not in the top three anyway.”
With last-start rider Blake Shinn already committed to Vega One, Pike has called upon the services of Mark Du Plessis, who has made every post a winner since moving from New Zealand to the Sunshine State in the middle of last year.
Cyber Attack is following a path trodden by The Bostonian, who spring-boarded off a trio of Queensland races at three to return at four to usurp the first two legs of Brisbane’s Group One sprint triple crown — the Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and Kingsford Smith Cup (1300m).
“The owners were keen to have a go in Queensland and he will probably end up running in the same three races The Bostonian contested last year. The Daybreak Lover which was his first run, this race and the Sunshine Coast Guineas (Gr.3, 1600m) probably next Saturday,” Pike said.
Pike has already enjoyed success in Brisbane this week, with talented four-year-old Sacred Day winning over 2240m at Doomben on Wednesday.
The get-back runner has been thwarted by sit and sprint races in his two previous Queensland runs and was put into Wednesday’s race by apprentice Corey Bayliss when the tempo slackened.
“Corey is apprenticed to Barry Lockwood where we're staying and I've been watching him over the carnival,” Pike said.
“He's a good polite kid and he rides well, so with the 61kgs it was a good opportunity to give him a ride.
“Sacred Day will probably head to the Grafton Cup (Listed, 2350m) now in three weeks and that'll probably be his last run over there and it would be a nice race to pick-off on the way home.”
With the Queensland Winter Carnival winding down, Pike’s raiding party is down to three, consisting of Terra Sancta, Cyber Attack and Sacred Day.
“Terra Santa will run in the Caloundra Cup (Listed, 2400m). She's unbeaten at the Sunshine Coast and seemed to love it down there last year,” Pike said.
“The Bostonian, Endless Drama and Intrigue all came back home last Sunday. The others are spelling up there and will come back some time in the next month.”
Despite The Bostonian’s Brisbane heroics, Pike said he hadn’t had any phone calls regarding a slot in the A$14 million The Everest (1200m) but was pleased with the way he and Endless Drama had come through their runs in the Stradbroke.
“They both pulled up super. The Bostonian slipped coming out of the gates and
It was a bit of a worry as to whether he pinched a muscle behind or something, but he seemed fine a couple of days afterward. It's very unfortunate that happed but they've both pulled up really well.”
Pike has four runners at Tauranga on Saturday and rates Bolt From The Blue and Out Of The Park in the opening two races as strong winning chances.
“Redcayenne is also a good chance in the Kiwifruit Cup, just as long as it doesn’t get too heavy,” he said.
Pike, who is also President of the New Zealand Trainers’ Association, is encouraged by the passing of the Racing Amendment Bill and the appointments to the Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA).
“It's encouraging, but obviously timing is of the essence,” he said.
“There are some good things on the horizon such as racefields legislation, point of consumption tax and (the repeal of) the gambling levy.
“My personal opinion is that outsourcing (of the TAB) needs to happen sooner rather than later and hopefully we can get some more money into the game.” – NZ Racing Desk