On a day that leaned towards a couple of anticipated two horse “match-races”, only one would come to fruition with the Dan Morton prepared Red Ora ($2.30) taking the honours over a brave Volkoff ($2.20 fav) in the Westspeed HCP 3YO BM62+ 1200m.
Looking to maintain its unbeaten winning record of three on end, the Due Sasso geldingseemed in trouble at the top of the turn as the favourite loomed up and took the lead before premiership hoop William Pike “lifted” the second elect over the concluding stages to salute by a mere half-head.
Time Thief filly Volkoff lost no admirers in the narrow defeat, and now has a minor placing to add to its three career wins from only five starts.
Asked about Pike’s ride, stable representative Len Morton said “…you want Willie on in a tight finish…he (Red Ora) did it too tough, and he got too keen. He wouldn’t settle for him (Pike) on the outside of the leader and had me a bit worried when the other horse ranged up…he did a great job to hang on like he did”.
It was the second leg of a riding treble for Pike who earlier had rated raging favourite Tick Tick Bloom ($1.30 fav) to perfection in the Vale Elite Belle HCP BM72+ 1800m to score by 2 ½ lengths pulling away, and later had to dig deep yet again on Military Ruler ($2.80 fav) to cling on to a narrow long head victory in the Westspeed HCP 3YO 1MW 1600m after leading throughout.
The other anticipated “match-race” presented in the Magic Millions HCP BM60+ 1400m between Trade Fair 5yo Cougar Nights ($2.25 fav) and Bachelor Duke 4yo Bachelors Prospect ($4.60) – but failed to live up to expectation, with Cougar Nights storming home from seventh on the turn to record a powerful one length triumph, while Bachelors Prospect failed to run on finishing a disappointing 2 ½ lengths sixth.
by Chris Blackwell