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Pike keen on his Te Rapa prospects

22 October 2017, 1:14 p.m.

An unsettled weather forecast is the main concern for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike as he eyes up his prospects for a Group Two victory at Te Rapa tomorrow.

Pike will saddle leading contenders Bostonian and Sacred Rebel in the James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) and believes they can both feature prominently should they receive an even share of luck in the race.

Bostonian Photo: Trish Dunell

“They’ve both come through their last runs at Hastings well and I think they can both be competitive if they can get a trouble-free run in what is a pretty smart field,” he commented.

“I guess the complicating factor could be the weather as the forecast isn’t great with rain predicted which could throw a spanner in the works.

“Bostonian is probably more equipped to cope with any easing as Sacred Rebel does need it dry to show his best.”

Pike was delighted with the performance of Bostonian who suffered his first career defeat when narrowly beaten in the Gr. 2 Hawkes’ Bay Guineas before throwing a scare into the camp when slipping badly shortly after the finish to the race.

“Bostonian went a top race at Hastings as he was wide throughout and never stopped trying in the run home,” he said.

“He pulled up well and took no harm from the mishap after the finish line. Hs work since then has been very good and with a handy barrier he is in position to get the right run in the race and I would think he will be hard to beat.”

Pike believes Sacred Rebel will need luck from an outside barrier but isn’t prepared to write off his chances just yet.

“He’s been plagued with bad barrier draws and wet tracks so we haven’t seen the best from him yet,” he noted.

“He’s drawn wide again but if he can slot in and get a reasonable trip he could definitely surprise a few. He just needs the ground in his favour so I’m hoping any rain we do get doesn’t have that much effect on the track.”

The 1400 metre feature will provide the final lead-up race to the Al Basti Equiworld 2000 New Zealand Guineas at Riccarton on 11 November for both Pike runners, where they could be joined by two other stablemates for the Group One three-year-old classic.

“Ever Loyal won like a horse going places at Te Aroha during the week and he is also in contention for the Guineas at Riccarton along with Aim Smart,” said Pike.

“Ever Loyal will have a run at Riccarton in the Zacinto Stakes on Saturday while Aim Smart will go to Ellerslie on the same day.

“If they perform up to expectations then we could have four in the Guineas at this stage.” - NZ Racing Desk