Everything has fallen into place for Cambridge trainer Tony Pike in the build-up to Friday’s Gr.1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley, where his star sprinter The Bostonian will chase a third elite Australian victory in the last six months.
The son of Jimmy Choux, who carries the Trelawney Stud brand after being born and raised on the farm for owner-breeder David Archer, won the Gr.1 Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and Gr.1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m) during Queensland’s winter carnival, earning more than $900,000 in stakes for owner-breeder David Archer.
The Bostonian kicked off his Melbourne spring campaign with a close-up ninth in the Gr.1 Moir Stakes (1000m) and an excellent third in the Gr.2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m), and those performances look even better after last Saturday’s track-record-breaking Everest (1200m) at Randwick. Schillaci winner Trekking was a close third, with Moir winner Nature Strip a dogged front-running fourth.
“The Everest last Saturday has certainly boosted the form around him, and the build-up to the Manikato has gone really well,” Pike said.
“Stepping up to 1200m should suit him, as well as going back to the Valley, which is a more forgiving track. There are also a few showers forecast for Melbourne through the rest of the week, and any easing in the ground will be absolutely ideal for him.
“He’s drawn well in gate three and is going into the race in good order. The three-year-old Bivouac is going to be hard to beat with his form around the Everest winner, but if you take him out, you wouldn’t say this is the strongest Australian Group One sprint field in recent times. We think we’re going in with a good chance.”
Following Friday’s A$1 million feature, The Bostonian is likely to tackle the Gr.1 Darley Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9. Further down the track, he holds nominations for the Gr.1 Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) and Gr.1 Hong Kong Mile (1600m) at Sha Tin on December 8.
“We’ll just get through his next two runs in Melbourne and then make a plan after that,” Pike said. “We put in an entry for Hong Kong just to keep all our options open.”
The Bostonian also holds a nomination for the Gr.1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) in Perth on November 30, but Pike indicated that a trip to Western Australia is unlikely.
Closer to home, Pike will line up the Trelawney Stud bred and co-owned Loire at Ellerslie as a springboard to next month’s New Zealand Cup carnival at Riccarton.
Loire, who has stormed home for placings in the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) and Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) in her last two starts, will run in the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).
“The 1400m still isn’t really her go, particularly from a wide draw, but this is really just a lead-up to the 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) at Riccarton,” Pike said. “Stepping up to the mile there at a big roomy track is going to be ideal for her, and that was always going to be her grand final.
“Her last couple of runs have been super, and I’m very pleased with how she’s progressing.” -NZ Racing Desk