IN Racing
Pike on weather watch
Tony Pike will be mindful of impending rain in the Northern venues ahead of starting his runner's this weekend.
Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | September 21, 2023
Churchillian (inside) will contest the Bayleys Bay of Plenty (1200m). (Trish Dunell)

Cambridge trainer Tony Pike will have a number of runners heading to Tauranga and Rotorua this weekend, but he is wary of potential heavy rain headed for the regions.

He will be represented by consistent four-year-old Churchillian at Tauranga on Saturday, the mare recording three wins from her seven starts and will be a key chance in a competitive Bayleys Bay of Plenty (1200m).

“She ran well fresh up at Hastings in a very competitive field, she’s won at Tauranga before and she’s very genuine, so she’ll be more than competitive in that race on Saturday,” Pike said.

Last-start winner Dimaggio will also appear at the Bay of Plenty meeting in the Contributer Standing At Mapperley Stud 1600, the son of Almanzor fresh off an impressive victory on the first day of the Hawke’s Bay carnival.

“He’s progressing through from Rating 65 grade, he’s still learning his trade but he was a good winner at Hawke’s Bay in a competitive race and probably wants to step up to 2000m shortly,” Pike said.

“We’ll get through this then hopefully head back to Hawke’s Bay on the last day for the Rating 75 2000m.”

“Both of them are in good form, but obviously it’s going to be a bit weather-related on Saturday with the forecast looking a bit iffy.”

Pike will also have three runners heading south to Arawa Park on Sunday, with lightly-tried five-year-old Lucy’s Magic starting in the Entain – NZB Insurance Pearl Series Race (1400m).

“Again, it’s probably weather-related but Lucy’s Magic is starting to knock on the door and she’s in good form, from a soft draw if the track holds up well she’ll be a nice each-way chance in that race,” he said.

Another tough barrier draw (18) for Maldini could see the Tarzino four-year-old start elsewhere the following week, however, he and debutant Promised Land are set to run in the Lance Lawson 1400.

“Promised Land is a nice progressive horse that’s trialled well and I expect a reasonably good performance from him on debut,” Pike said.

Tony Pike Churchillian Dimaggio Almanzor