Pike peaks in Al­bany

Albany Advertiser - - SPORT - Cameron New­bold

A touch of ge­nius from cham­pion jockey Wil­liam Pike aboard one of the most pro­gres­sive horses in the State has led to a fre­netic fin­ish to the 2019 Tab­Touch Fitz­patrick Plate (1230m) in Al­bany on Sun­day, as race favourite Neu­ro­log­i­cal pre­vailed.

Pike made a rare trip to Al­bany to es­pe­cially ride the Martin Al­lantrained Neu­ro­log­i­cal in the $100,000 fea­ture race at Percy Spencer Race­course and he pro­duced a su­perb ef­fort to guide the tal­ented sprinter to vic­tory.

Jump­ing a well-sup­ported $2.70 favourite Pike had the four-yearold set­tled in the back half of the field as a red-hot pace was set up front by out­sider Abu Dhabi ($55 chance).

As the field swept for home Pike switched back to the in­side and got away from heels of the fad­ing Fa­ther Knick be­fore un­leash­ing a bril­liant turn of foot to gob­ble up Abu Dhabi and Ar­rum Boy and pinch a mem­o­rable win.

Neu­ro­log­i­cal sprouted wings in the run home, clocked a fi­nal 600m sec­tional of 34.43 se­conds to win by 1¼ lengths over Ar­rum Boy while Abu Dhabi fin­ished a brave third.

The vic­tory was Pike’s sec­ond in the fea­ture race, hav­ing guided Shawaim to suc­cess in 2013, but for Al­lan it was clearly his big­gest win as a trainer.

Post-race Pike re­vealed that he had ques­tioned if Neu­ro­log­i­cal was ca­pa­ble of pro­gress­ing to win a race of this kind.

“I won a cou­ple on him at Northam and I was un­sure if he could win an­other race,” Pike said. “But I am hap­pily proven wrong. “I didn’t have a very high opin­ion of him if I’m hon­est but he’s im­prov­ing and Martin has done a won­der­ful job with him.

“He’s got a real turn of foot and in run­ning I thought I’d left my run too late.

“We were only just wind­ing up and he ran through the line so he’ll be hard to beat in what­ever he pro­gresses on to.”

The win con­tin­ues Neu­ro­log­i­cal’s red-hot form, hav­ing won five of his past six starts af­ter start­ing this prepa­ra­tion with a class three win in Northam back in Septem­ber last year, while Pike is un­beaten in four starts on the horse.

Al­lan, who has been train­ing just over three years, was thrilled to land fea­ture race suc­cess with

the son of Gin­ger­bread Man.

“We did step him up for the York Cup but with more speed on we worked out he’s much bet­ter as a chaser,” Al­lan said.

“In th­ese kind of races he gets in well at the weights and he’ll go to the Batavia Sprint now.

“We knew there would be a lot of speed on but once he saw day­light he hit top gear.”

The 32-year-old trainer said the $20,000 pur­chase was named af­ter his fa­ther, who passed away through mo­tor neu­ron dis­ease.

Neu­ro­log­i­cal will now con­test the $100,000 Batavia Sprint (1300m) in Ger­ald­ton on Jan­uary 27.

Pike fin­ished with a win­ning tre­ble in his an­tic­i­pated re­turn to the re­gion af­ter also guid­ing Fri­arandice to vic­tory in the other fea­ture, the Golden Bracelet, along with You Am I ear­lier in the day.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Neu­ro­log­i­cal sprints home strongly for jockey Wil­liam Pike to win the 2019 Tab­Touch Fitz­patrick Plate (1230m) in Al­bany on Sun­day.

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Part-owner of the 2019 Fitz­patrick Plate win­ner Paul Of­fi­cer, jockey Wil­liam Pike, trainer Martin Al­lan and strap­per Jo Vaatainen af­ter the vic­tory of Neu­ro­log­i­cal.

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