Pike keen on his Ruakaka runners

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  • July 18, 2023
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Although he won’t be at Ruakaka on Saturday as he finishes up a brief break on the Gold Coast, Cambridge trainer Tony Pike believes he is represented by two strong chances at the meeting.

Pike will line up promising maiden galloper Stash in the first race of the day over 1600m while exciting three-year-old Slipper Island will make a much-anticipated return from injury in a rating 65 1200m contest later on the card.

Pike is relishing getting both of his runners on the expected firm winter surface of the sand based Ruakaka track.

“This will be the best winter grass track any of the horses will run on in the next couple of months and both of mine will enjoy getting on something where they don’t have to pull their feet out of the mud,” Pike said.

“I think we have two nice chances so with an ounce of luck we could have some success.”

A handy trial performer before he was tripped up by a holding surface at Pukekohe on debut, Stash hails from a family that Pike has had plenty of success with.

The son of Mapperley Stud stallion Contributer is a half-brother to Sacred Park, who Pike prepared to win the 2013 Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1500m) and the Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m), while half-sister Nomisma won four races during her 27-start career.

“Stash is from a family that I have had a fair bit of luck with and I think he could be quite a handy horse once he matures,” Pike said.

“He trialled up nicely but then struck a very holding track a Counties first-up and just couldn’t get going in the ground.

“On a better track I expect him to be competitive and he is a nice chance for me to start the day off well.”

Pike is also keen to see No Nay Never colt Slipper Island return from an injury he suffered when running sixth in the Gr.3 Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Pukekohe back in December.

“He (Slipper Island) fractured his cannon bone in the Bonecrusher at Counties so we had to tip him out for a long break while that healed,” Pike said.

“He has been back a wee while but I’ve been waiting for a decent track for him as he just can’t go on the wet stuff.

“He is drawn an awkward gate (9) but there looks to be plenty of tempo in the race so he should hopefully be able to find a nice spot in running.

“There is no doubt he will benefit from the run, however, on ability and what he has shown in his work, I think he can go a pretty cheeky race.”

Pike doesn’t traditionally have a large winter team, however, his stable is getting ready for the new season with a large number of his spring runners back in work and getting ready for their first trial outings.

“The majority of our spring horses are back in the stable and gearing up for the new season,” he said.

“Most of them will be ready to trial towards the end of this month and we have some very nice two and three-year-olds amongst them.

“I’m excited about our prospects with horses like Impendabelle, who has really strengthened up over her break, while we have some very nice maiden gallopers who I think can go through the grades over the spring and summer.”

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