IN Racing
Investigate a genuine Championship contender
“He’s always suggested he’s a really genuine staying three-year-old and he got squeezed up late and was strong through the line at Wellington."
Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | April 18, 2024
Investigate will contest the Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m) at Ellerslie on Saturday. Photo: Race Images Palmerston North

Up and coming staying prospect Investigate promises to give another bold account of himself at Ellerslie on Saturday in what is likely to be the final appearance of his current campaign.

The Tony Pike-prepared son of Dundeel has relished the step up to middle distance racing and appeals as a leading chance in the Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes (2100m).

He is one of a quartet of strong black type chances for Pike, who also has Lanikai in the three-year-old feature while Rudyard contests the Gr.3 Manco Easter Handicap (1600m) and Boss ‘N’ Highheels runs in the Listed TAB Star Way Stakes (1200m).

He will be further represented at Riccarton by Dangerous Liaisons, who will be chasing a degree of compensation in the Janet Francis Handicap (1400m) after she was forced to bypass her intended stakes target last weekend.

Investigate was a runaway winner in his first crack at 2000m two runs back before he handled a sharp rise in class in style when runner-up in the Gr.3 Manawatu Classic (2100m) at Trentham.

“Obviously, he jumped from a very weak maiden at Taranaki to a good performance significantly up in grade,” Pike said.

“He’s always suggested he’s a really genuine staying three-year-old and he got squeezed up late and was strong through the line at Wellington.

“It looks a similar race for him on Saturday and this will probably be his last run. He’s come a long way in a short time, so I’d suggest he’ll go out and come back next season.”

Lanikai has yet to break his maiden and the son of Ocean Park will appreciate the step up to 2100m off the back of placings up to a mile.

“He’s a horse we’ve always really liked all the way through. His racing manners have let him down a touch and he’s had a few wide gates as well,” Pike said.

“He’s a lovely horse in the making who wants to do a few things wrong, so we’ll ride him a lot quieter than he has been and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him run a lot better than his price.”

Charm Spirit four-year-old Rudyard lines up in the Easter in grand form with four wins and five top-four finishes from his last nine starts.

“He’s come of age this season and is very professional and been in very solid form, it doesn’t appear as if anything has changed going by his trackwork,” Pike said.

“It looks a perfect race for him, ideally we would have liked to have got in with a couple of kilos less in weight than 57kg, but that probably reflects the lack of horses at this level.

“The wide draw is a bit of a concern, but he’ll go forward and he should be hard to beat going back up to a mile.”

Written Tycoon filly Boss ‘N’ Highheels was unbeaten in two trial appearances before carrying that form over to race day on debut.

“She’s a lovely type and we were really concerned about the track conditions at Matamata when the rain came,” Pike said.

“She’s got a beautiful, sweet low action and ability got her through and on a better surface at Ellerslie she will be even better.

“She has drawn wide, but she seems to have good gate speed and hopefully she can get across without ding too much work. She’s a really progressive filly.”

Dangerous Liaisons is back to full health for her assignment at Riccarton after the No Nay Never filly originally headed south for last weekend’s Listed NZB Insurance Stakes (1600m).

“She was sound on the Friday night and on Saturday morning she was three out of five lame with a throbbing pulse in her foot,” Pike said.

“That popped pretty quickly and she’s sound as a bell now but missed the race we wanted so she’s going to have to run for a consolation prize."

Investigate Tony Pike Gr.3 Trelawney Stud Championship Stakes lanikai Dangerous Liaisons Charm Spirit Boss 'N' Highheels