Although the Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue training team missed out in the G1 NZ 2000 Guineas on Saturday, there was better news out of Te Rapa when they prepared a winning double for Pike’s parents, Wayne and Vicki.
Chintz (NZ) (Savabeel) scored a comfortable win first-up from a disappointing Queensland winter campaign while Kelly O’Reilly (NZ) (O’Reilly) made it two in a row with a last-to-first victory for the Cambridge couple.
Tony wasn’t on hand to celebrate with his parents – he was at Riccarton with the stable’s 2000 Guineas favourite Sacred Park (NZ) (Thorn Park) who had excuses after finishing midfield in the classic.
“It’s always extra special to win for Mum and Dad,” Pike said. “It was very satisfying to get the win with Kelly O’Reilly as her preparation hasn’t really gone to plan with scheduling issues and it looked as though the luck had gone against her again early in the race with a decent check at the start.
“To his credit Kevin (Leung) didn’t panic and saved every inch of ground to get a beautiful rails run and score with a little in hand at the end.
“We’ve always thought she was up to stakes company so she will likely have one more run in her grade before we take a look at black type at Ellerslie’s Christmas carnival.”
Long striding Savabeel mare Chintz will also get her chance at the highest level later in the season if she makes the progress Pike thinks she is capable of this prep. “She showed plenty of promise with those two wins before we took her to Brisbane however that proved a bit of a disaster so we brought her home and gave her a good break,” he said.
“She has come back extra well and went a super trial behind Fleur de Lune recently so we were confident she would acquit herself well on Saturday. She has plenty of scope about her and I think once she gets up to a middle distance we will see the best of her.
“We will take her through the grades as well and I can see her trying stakes company sometime in the autumn next year.”
Pike will wait on a vet check in the next few days before making further plans with Sacred Park. “Leith Innes said he spread himself leaving the starting gates but travelled nicely to the corner. But he found nothing in the straight so we will get the vet to give him a once over and see if that incident at the start had something to do with it.
“We still think he is a Derby horse so if he pulls up well we will make plans for that but at this stage nothing is certain until the vet has made his report.”