Willie Pike has more Group 1s in his sights before he returns home to Perth, with the leading rider confident he is on the right horse in Saturday’s Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington.
Pike rode Ole Kirk to win the Caulfield Guineas for Hawkes Racing and again they team up with Doubtland, who races for a $900,000 winning purse and a stud career in the 1200-metre dash down the Flemington straight.
Pike last rode Doubtland in September when he was dominant in the Danehill Stakes over the same course.
“He was probably one of the main horses I ended up hanging around for since the Cox Plate,” Pike said on Friday.
“He had this race picked out for him for a little while now. I’m pretty happy with his performance last time I rode him and he went well up the straight.
“It’s a cracking field though. This is a very good race and very wide-open race.
“It (inside barrier) shouldn’t be too bad. Last time he got back off them a little bit so I should be able to work my way into the middle and I’ve picked out a few here that I would like to try and follow if I happen to be near them in the run.”
Pike rode Arcadia Queen in last Saturday’s Cox Plate and with stablemates Superstorm and Windstorm racing in Sydney this week, he had an option to end his stay in Victoria, which began back in August.
But the chance to ride on Derby Day and to take his first Melbourne Cup ride on Steel Prince next Tuesday were more than enough to keep him from home for that little bit longer.
“I got to ride on this day quite a number of years ago – maybe 10 or 12 years ago – so I’m back again and while I haven’t got a ride in the Derby this time but I’ve got a good hand in a few of the others,” he said, referring also to Wild Planet in the G1 Cantala Stakes.
As for the ride on Steel Prince?
“I am very happy to pick the ride up and have my first ride in a Melbourne Cup, which is fantastic,” he said.
“It’s a little bit of a shame that everyone can’t get there and experience the whole buzz of it all but nonetheless, I know how important it is and I’m just happy to be there.”