IN Racing
Trentham track to favour Witz End
“He is an exciting horse going forward and I am looking forward to Saturday with him.”
LOVERACING.NZ News Desk | March 14, 2024
Witz End will contest the Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m) at Trentham on Saturday. Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Tony Pike believes the big, roomy Trentham track will suit his promising three-year-old Witz End right down to the ground in Saturday’s Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas (1400m).

Unbeaten in his first two starts, the Savabeel gelding’s picket fence form line came to an end last Friday when beaten by December on the tight-turning Taupo track over 1300m.

“It was just disappointing having to take him to Taupo. He needed the run, but he is just such a big-actioned horse, he really got lost around the tight turns from the half-mile to the corner at Taupo,” Pike told Trackside NZ.

“He looked in all sorts of trouble, like he was going to drop out and run last, but once he balanced up in the straight, he was really strong over the final stages.

“Getting him back to Wellington is going to be key. He has won down there and that big, roomy track with his action is really going to suit.

“He is an exciting horse going forward and I am looking forward to Saturday with him.”

Pike will also trek south with Harlow Rocks and Sign Of Peace, with the pair both set to contest the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m).

Harlow Rocks has been a consistent performer for Pike, winning one and placing in three of her seven starts, including a runner-up performance behind Molly Bloom in the Gr.2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m) at Te Rapa last month.

She subsequently finished fourth in the transferred Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Taupo last week and Pike has been pleased with her progress ahead of Saturday’s Group One assignment.

“It (Lowland) was a funny run race, she got attacked through the mid-stages of the race, which was unfortunate,” Pike said. “I think it was a lot better run than her placing suggested.

“It had been a mixed-up preparation with the Lowland being abandoned originally. I think that run will have her at her peak for Saturday. She is a real staying filly and she will run a big race.”

Sign Of Peace has also been in consistent form for the stable, winning one and placing in four of her five starts to date, and heads into Saturday off the back of a dead-heat for second in the Lowland Stakes last Friday.

“She is a filly with a bit of timing,” Pike said. “She has had a long time between runs, but it was a big performance stepping up in class (in the Lowland). I think she is peaking at the right time. She is a filly that is bred to stay and I think she will round out the 2400m better than most.”

Witz End Gr.2 Life Direct Wellington Guineas Tony Pike Harlow Rocks Sign Of Peace Gr. 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks Michael McNab Ryan Elliot