WA’s champion jockey William Pike was a rival in Celebrity Queen’s last crack at a Group 1 win but could be the man to guide the mare to racing’s summit in Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate.
Chris Parnham rode Celebrity Queen in her close second to Elite Street in last year’s Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot while Pike steered Godolphin sprinter Trekking into fourth placing last November.
Pike has headed east to assume his duties as the number one rider for powerful Perth owner Bob Peters’ team during the peak of the Melbourne autumn carnival.
Pike starts with Group 1 rides aboard Arcadia Queen in the Futurity Stakes and Celebrity Queen in Saturday’s $500,000 Oakleigh Plate. Celebrity Queen has drawn perfectly in barrier three.
Perth sprint form nearly always holds up in Melbourne features, leaving Pike hopeful Celebrity Queen can match the locals at her Victorian debut.
“She did some outstanding things in her last campaign but I wasn’t on her most of the time because I was over here,” Pike told RSN.
“I can’t knock her. She has a fantastic record and has already gone close in one Group 1 and hopefully she gets a chance in another one on Saturday.”
Jockey William Pike has five rides at Saturday’s Blue Diamond Stakes meeting at Caulfield. Photo: AAP Image/Vince Caligiuri.Source:AAP
Pike said Celebrity Queen started her preparation with some planned trackwork but has improved as her Melbourne trip neared.
“As her fitness increased, her work improved,” Pike said.
“She was working well as her fitness got better so I think she’ll run well.”
Pike will go into Saturday’s Blue Diamond meeting on the fresh side as well. He has not ridden since last Thursday’s Bunbury meeting to ensure he complies with quarantine rules ahead of his Caulfield appearance.
Pike has spent the last few days holed up in his Bendigo hotel room as Victoria went through its latest five-day COVID-19 lockdown.
“I’m not really doing much at all. I’m playing a few video games, I’ve got a workout app on my phone to try and keep some sort of fitness going,” Pike told the Herald-Sun.
“I was hoping to be able to get out and get to gyms to make sure I didn’t get too soft while I was having a break but that’s not allowed at the moment.
“I’ll definitely be fresh but I’ll have to wear dark sunglasses because I haven’t seen much daylight.”
Pike also picked up the ride on Godolphin colt Ingratiating in the $1.5 million Blue Diamond Stakes.
Originally published asPike on board for Celebrity’s latest Group 1 crack
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