Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is aiming to secure a spot in the A$14 million The Everest (1200m) on Saturday when his quality sprinter The Bostonian contests the Gr.2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.
The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) will run the Schillaci Stakes as the last race on a 10-event card on Saturday with the winner receiving a golden ticket to The Everest the following week.
The MRC will give winning connections until midday on Sunday to decide whether they want to take up their spot in The Everest. If not, the opportunity will pass to the second place-getter, with the connections of race rival Booker already ruling out a tilt at The Everest should she be successful.
The Bostonian had a wide run from an outside barrier in the Gr.1 Moir Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley, finishing ninth, just over two lengths from the winner Nature Strip and the dual Group One winner has pleased Pike since.
“I am really happy with him,” he said. “Damian Lane (jockey) galloped him on the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday and said he had taken no harm from his fresh-up run.
“The field has probably dropped away a touch, it is definitely not as strong as the Moir was.
“He has come up with a good gate this time, with gate three, which is going to be a huge advantage.
“He got posted three-wide in the Moir, but kept closing and only just got beaten by two lengths.
“He is right in this race on Saturday, he will give it a big shake.
“With The Everest slot up for grabs for the winner of that race, it is going to be a very interesting day and there will be a lot of organising if we are lucky enough to win on Saturday afternoon.”
Meanwhile, Pike put promising fillies Kali and Loire through their paces in an exhibition gallop at Taupo on Wednesday.
The pair will go on separate paths towards next month’s Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton.
“I am really happy with them both,” Pike said. “They are going to split up and go their separate ways.
“Kali heads to Christchurch next Wednesday, she will run in the Barneswood Farm Stakes (Gr.3, 1400m) and into the Guineas from there.
“Loire will go to Ellerslie for the Soliloquy (Gr.3, 1400m). I was really happy with their (exhibition) gallop. They are two promising fillies that are going to be big chances in the Guineas.”
While Loire has been stakes-placed in her last two starts, Pike has been frustrated with the luckless runs of Kali and a change in tactics is set to take luck out of the equation in future races.
“She (Kali) has had no luck in both of her starts (as a three-year-old) even though she won on protest at Hawke’s Bay the first time,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to getting an uninterrupted run with her.
“We will probably be a bit more positive with her next start and take luck out of the equation. She is a big-actioned filly who should suit being an on pace runner.”
The trainer also reported that Spring Bouquet, which finished fourth at Bendigo on Wednesday behind impressive winner In Heart’s Wake, had pulled a shoe in running and felt the ground afterwards.
– NZ Racing Desk