Cambridge trainer Tony Pike has revealed a promising spring hope at Avondale on Wednesday, with debutant Elemental producing an eye-catching victory in the Westbrook Wines Maiden 2YO&3YO (1400m).
Premiership-leading jockey Michael McNab positioned the son of Ocean Park near the tail of the field down the back straight and once the three-year-old wound up at the 200m he was impressive to the line over a fast-finishing fellow debutant Danzino.
“He won extremely well, we didn’t really want to run him on a heavy track today, but we wanted to get a run into him at the tail end of his three-year-old season,” Pike said.
Elemental was extensively trialled prior to his debut performance and was most recently seen running third at Te Rapa a month prior.
“We’ll probably give him a very short break now. He looks like a nice progressive staying horse for the spring,” Pike said.
Pike will now take a team of three runners to the Central Districts on Thursday, with Wind of Change, Allnighter and Get Lit set to line-up on the Heavy10 track at Hastings.
His representation will commence with the two-year-old pairing of Allnighter and Wind of Change, who will make their debuts in the PGG Wrightson’s Livestock 2YO Maiden (800m).
Both fillies were winners of their most recent trials on the Cambridge Synthetic with McNab aboard, who will partner Allnighter on Thursday.
“They are two fillies that have trialled up well,” Pike said.
“They are near the tail end of their two-year-old season and would probably prefer a better track than we get tomorrow, but it is improving.
“Both of them will run well based on their barrier trials, then they’ll have a short break and hopefully they will progress into reasonably smart three-year-old fillies going into the three-year-old series races.”
Pike said the pair were on a similar level ability-wise, but over the 800m distance the Deep Field filly Wind of Change would be slightly sharper than her stablemate, and will have Ashvin Goindasamy in the saddle at Hastings.
“Although, Allnighter is a big strong filly and she will be very strong late,” he said.
Pike’s trio of fillies on Thursday is completed by Savabeel three-year-old Get Lit, who comes off two fifth placings on similar ground in the north, most recently at Ruakaka, finishing strongly behind the Andrew Forsman-trained Leedox.
McNab guided the filly to her first career win at Avondale in October and will again ride Get Lit in the Stephenson Transport Handicap Rating 65 (1650m) out of barrier three.
“She’s had two fair runs coming back this time in, she probably didn’t handle the kick-back at Ruakaka that well but the step up to a mile will suit,” Pike said.
“Off her first two runs, she should be more than competitive tomorrow.