It took until race five, far longer than Pike and his supporters would have expected, but the champion rider broke the Australian record for the number of winners in a season when he guided Zaratite at Belmont on Saturday.
Pike scored his 224th victory on the Grant and Alana Williams-trained Zaratite, the raging hot favourite in the Quayclean Handicap (2000m), to better Alan Robinson’s 223.5
win benchmark that was set in season 2005-06.
Pike rebounded after a couple of major shocks earlier in the meeting when Cryptic Wonder ($1.70), Battle Storm ($1.45) and Mystery Miss ($1.12) in the Listed Belmont Classic (2200m) were rolled as the short priced favourites.
Cryptic Wonder and Mystery Miss were beaten by narrow margins, a short half-head and long-head respectively while Battle Storm couldn’t go past a rival in the run home and
finished last, suffering his first defeat in six starts.
Pike later added to his tally when he got Neurological out of an awkward spot in the straight. Once clear the improving four-year-old, who ended a run of minor placings for trainer Martin Allan, had enough in hand to win the Crown Perth Handicap (1400m) by a neck over the luckless Taxagano.
Pike, who was warmly greeted by appreciative supporters on his return to the winner’s enclosure including an embrace from former leading jockey and recent WA Racing Hall Of Fame inductee, Rod Kemp, said he had to be patient before creating Australian racing history.
“It was hard to think because leading up to that ride it didn’t feel like a successful season,” Pike said.
“I’ve had a few ups and downs, but I think I’m getting better at handling them.
“Overall I didn’t think I had done a terrible job on most of them.
“Maybe the two-year-old (Cryptic Wonder) wasn’t my best, but I felt the rest had their chance.
“They weren’t quite good enough and you have to accept it sometimes.”
Pike’s record breaking season included Group 1 wins over the Ascot carnival last year.
He rated those successes as the best of his 2018-19 season winners.
“The Group ones over the Saturday carnivals, the Railway and the Kingston Town, I was able to have success there,” Pike said.
“Definitely the highlight was getting those group ones.”