Pike to target September with Falcon Crest
WA’s premier jockey William Pike has selected Falcon Crest ahead of Bollywood Blitz in his mission to claim a third victory in tomorrow week’s $100,000 Hahn Electrical Coolgardie Cup (1760m).
Pike made the final decision after driving to co-trainers Grant and Alana Williams Karnup property to ride Falcon Crest in a work out on their home track yesterday morning.
“Falcon Crest’s work impressed William,” Pike’s racing manager Dale Verhagen said.
The Coolgardie-born Pike rode Heavenly Business to dead-heat with Morocco Bound in scoring his first Cup in 2005. He then won the Cup outright on Express Service in 2014.
The Williams team won last year’s Cup with I’m Feeling Lucky, with Glenn Smith in the saddle.
Brad Parnham has picked up the ride on Falcon Crest’s stable-mate Ripper Rio.
Jarrad Noske, who won the 2013 Cup on Barnsley Boy, has kept the ride on Astronomite, for trainer Martin Allan.
Noske has ridden Astronomite at his past four starts at Belmont Park, for two wins in succession and two thirds.
Bollywood Blitz is the prime Goldfields’ hope of repelling the Perth invasion.
The Craig Wright-trained gelding has been flying, lumping big weights on 61.5kg and 61kg to post strong half-length wins over 1400m and 1600m at Kalgoorlie on August 6 and 20.
Chris Parnham, who rode Malibu Style to win the Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield in April and Viddora to win the Irwin Stakes winner at Morphettville in May, yesterday beat a posse of riders to claim the coveted ride on Bollywood Blitz..
Parnham returned to riding earlier this month after having surgery to remove a plate from his left foot and from suspension.
Meanwhile, trainer Rod (Freddo) Brown is keen for some of Pike’s wizardry to rub off on Viking Forrest in tomorrow’s feature in the Goldfields’ Toyota Cup (1300m).
The Brown-trained Kalavedo gave Pike his best winning day in the saddle, when he claimed his sixth win on the gelding in the last race on Hannan’s Handicap day last year. (Pike’s winning haul included the Hannan’s on Socially Unique, who was trained by the Williams)
Viking Forrest has been racing without luck since joining Brown’s stable from Bruce Kay, finishing in the shadows of Goldfields’ star sprinter Corvara and Prohurst Express at three of his past four starts at Kalgoorlie.
The son of Dane Shadow lost a length at the start, was trapped three deep and blocked for a clear run, before finishing strongly into fifth place to Corvara over 1200m on July 30.
Viking Forrest then flashed home from second last on the turn to miss catching Corvara and Pegatego by centimetres over 1200m on August 13.
Viking Forrest has drawn perfectly at his rematch against Pegatego in gate three.
He strikes a competitive opposition with the nine-horse field comprising the talented Prohurst Express and Dark Royalty.
“William was happy to come up and ride for us,” Brown said. “Viking Forrest was pushed up in the handicaps because of two Ascot wins.
“He is not a very tall horse but he is strong.
“It took us a few starts to work him out and he has been racing well, but has been unlucky with wide gates and being caught deep.
“I’m hoping William can wave a bit of his magic and get him home first.”
Brown is confident Hey Bro, to be ridden by Kalgoorlie premiership leading jockey Daniel Staeck, is a worthy second-string following his strong first up fourth to Corvara on August 13.
“I would have liked to have given him a trial, but there were no trial available before his last start,” Brown said. “I thought he ran an enormous race and he blew up big time from the run.”
Trainer Peter Fernie has booked the in-form 2 kilo claiming apprentice Fred Kersley jr to reduce Prohurst Express’ big weight on 63.5kg.
With Kersley’s allowance Prohurst Express will carry a more comfortable 61.5kg. Trainer Craig Wright used Kersley’s claim successfully last Sunday when Bollywood Blitz lumped 61kg to win The Goldrush (1600m).
Second top-weight Dark Royalty (60.5kg) won an 1100m trial in good fashion last Sunday, in preparation for his return from an 85-day break in the Cup.
Pegatego, who beat Prohurst Express three starts ago and finished a close second to Corvara at his past two starts gets leading Perth jockey Shaun O’Donnell to ride on 59.5kg.
He meets Viking Ruler (56.5kg) a kilo better on beating him home by a short-neck last start.
Viking Forrest is raced by Tony and Gail Bartlett, who owned the 2003 Railway and dual Winterbottom stakes winner Hardrada.
The Bartletts’ also have Mauldans Mill, who Pike will ride for the first time in the GWN Celebrating 50 years Handicap (1400m).
Mauldens Mill broke his maiden status at his third start for Brown in a 1400m maiden at Kalgoorlie on August 6.
He then was caught three deep through-out before finishing strongly to run third to Silver Knows over 1300m last Sunday.
“I have to butter him up because if I don’t he will have a three weeks gap to step him up to 1400m,” Brown said. “It is a big jump from a maiden win to the next class and he did a good job.
“It just depends on how well he backs up.”
Pike also rides the Brown-trained Jaz Me Up, Happy Harry and Let’s Go Macca in the Kalgoorlie Feed barn Maiden (1200m), the JMS Real Estate Handicap (1200m) and the Sportsman Lunch Tickets Handicap (1200m).
“Jaz Me Up strikes a strong maiden, but I like her,” Brown said. “She came here as a light-framed and who we struggled to get her to eat.
“She is eating now and I think she will do well next preparation.
“We’ll take her down to Esperance on the beach where she will thrive.
“Happy Harry was first up last start and he missed out on a trial.
“He was out three deep for most of the way and it was a good run (7th).
“Let’s Go Macca is a half-brother to the multiple winner Let’s Go Secret, who was trained by David Harrison early and then me.
“We bought him as a youngster, but he could not go a yard early,” Brown said. “We turned him out for six months and let him mature.
“He has come back and done a good job.
“He is first up on Sunday and is against a couple of good ones.”
Pike‘s other two rides are on The Black Jeep and Anglo Irish in the Mrs Whippy Maiden (1600m) and Relph Electrical Contractors Handicap (2140m).