Willie Pike won’t have much to do apart from iron his riding silks when he emerges from his farm quarantine on Saturday – but admits he is concerned he could have too much do to win the Group 1 Railway Stakes on Inspirational Girl.
Pike’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period ends at midnight Friday and he has spent the last fortnight tending to cows and fixing fences on his 1300-acre farm in Beaufort River about two hours south-east of Perth.
He could leave to re-unite with his partner Jessica and kids Jett and Aspen at midnight Friday but says he will probably make the drive to Perth on Saturday morning.
Hours later he will ride Railway Stakes favourite Inspirational Girl.
A Railway win would be a sweet tonic for Pike who passed up a Group I Mackinnon Stakes win on Arcadia Queen to head back to WA to quarantine ahead of his home carnival.
Pike reeled off Group 1 wins on Ole Kirk (Caulfield Guineas) and Arcadia Queen (Caulfield Stakes) during his successful Melbourne stint but feels he will need to ride at his absolute best to get Inspirational Girl home in Saturday’s 1600m Group 1 at Ascot.
“I will drive home in the morning and everything is ready at home, I will just have to iron my silks and have about a kilogram to lose,” Pike said.
“I haven’t been on Inspirational Girl for a while and it does look like a tricky race for me from barrier 11.
“A couple of the ones to beat can put themselves in a good spot ahead of me, a horse like Red Can Man and also Too Close The Sun who smashed his rivals the other day.
“It’s the sort of race that I could end up with too much to do if I don’t get a cart up exactly when I need it.”
Willie Pike rides after riding a winner during his Melbourne spring stint. Pic: Racing Photos via Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Australia’s leading jockey for overall winners looks poised for another bumper home carnival, also snaring the ride on Winterbottom Stakes favourite Trekking on November 28.
Grant and Alana Williams-trained, Bob Peters-owned Inspirational Girl is the $3.60 favourite for the Railway.
Inspirational Girl has won eight from ten, but the Railway assignment will be the first time the five-year-old mare has been thrown into racing’s deep end.
But Pike is confident in her ability, as long as he can get her a sweet ride in transit and have her ready to strike at the business end.
Originally published asFrom farm quarantine to Group 1 glory?
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