Wizard of the west Willie Pike is considering a hit-and-run riding raid on the Victorian spring carnival’s biggest spoils – the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
The West Australian riding star was a popular spring carnival visitor last year, spending several months away from his WA home as he plundered Victorian Group 1 spoils.
It’s a different scenario this year with Pike only looking at a Victorian stay of slightly more than three weeks.
But with Sydney jockeys almost certainly not going to be able to ride in Victoria during the spring due to the NSW Covid-19 chaos and hard-line border restrictions, Pike has extra reason to pounce.
WA is currently considered a green zone by the Victorian Government, meaning Pike could travel to Victoria as long as he obtained an appropriate permit.
And the elite jockey, who scored four Victorian Group 1s in 2020-21, would be happy to go into two-week quarantine when he returns to Western Australia, if he is required to do so under the restrictions at the time.
Pike returns to scale on Arcadia Queen after winning the Caulfield Stakes last spring. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Pike told News Corp: “I am really hopeful of getting across to Victoria.
“In a perfect world, I would like to be there for the Caulfield Cup and stay there for a few weeks.
“With the changing (Covid-19) landscape at the moment, I can’t really plan too far ahead.
“I will just continue to monitor the situation and will certainly endeavour to get across to Victoria when it is feasible.”
Pike was one of the stories of the spring carnival last year when he made away with plenty of big races including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas on Ole Kirk and the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes on Arcadia Queen.
He returned in the autumn this year to score another pair of Group 1s – the Oakleigh Plate on Celebrity Queen and the William Reid Stakes on Masked Crusader.
Pike has no spring carnival rides set in stone if he makes it to Victoria for the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Pike’s main supporter in the west – leviathan owner Bob Peters – looks unlikely to have as strong a spring carnival arsenal as he did last year.
Pike pilots Mount Popa to victory in the Mornington Cup. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
However, there would surely be no shortage of trainers looking to secure Pike’s services for Group 1 rides, especially considering there could be a shortage of elite jockeys given Sydney hoops almost certainly won’t be able to cross the border.
For instance, Pike has forged a strong association with Team Hawkes.
On Pike’s 35th birthday earlier this year, he booked a Caulfield Cup spot for the Hawkes-trained Mount Popa as they combined for a memorable Mornington Cup win.
At the time, trainer Wayne Hawkes quipped he didn’t want Pike to go home to WA after winning the Mornington Cup and also having clinched the Group 1 William Reid on Masked Crusader the night before.
Originally published asPike plotting hit-and-run raid on spring majors
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