Kiwi trainer Tony Pike has VRC Derby ambitions with Melody Belle’s half-brother Tutukaka
Tony Pike hasn’t landed a blow in the winter carnival to date, but the Kiwi trainer is looking to change that with a half-brother to super mare Melody Belle.
Pike has become famous for his exploits in Queensland, winning Group 1’s recently with The Bostonian, Provocative and Sacred Elixir but admits there will be no top-level success this time around.
While he is aiming lower than usual, he is looking at the bigger picture with promising two-year-old Tutukaka, who he said was being aimed at the Group 1 VRC Derby during the Melbourne spring.
Out of the same mare as Melody Belle – Meleka Belle – Tutukaka carries expectations and Pike said they can be reach in time.
He gets his second chance in Australia in The Phoenix (1500m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday where he is rated a $5 chance with TAB.
“He is very much a work in progress, he is going to be a beautiful horse over further but we are also here to get some experience and some prizemoney too to possibly have a crack at the VRC Derby in the spring,” he said.
“He is not the finished product yet but he is taking improvement out of his races and while I expect him to run well on Saturday, our main target is the 1800m race (Tattersall’s Stakes) in three weeks’ time.
“The JJ (Atkins) will come too quick for him so we thought we would go to The Phoenix which he will be very competitive in.
“It is very nice prize money, it is good for these staying two-year-old’s to get a bit of mileage into their legs at this point of their careers.”
Tony Pike with Sacred Elixir in Melbourne. Picture: Colleen PetchSource:News Corp Australia
With no direct flights to Brisbane for horses, Pike admits it has been a difficult year to properly assemble a team in Queensland so he is waiting to see what the future holds when it comes to making a call on what Tutukaka does after the Tattersall’s Stakes at the end of the month.
While his half-sister Melody Belle netted $2.6 million at the Magic Millions Broodmare Sale recently, Tutukaka was purchased for a fraction of that at $250,000.
Even so, Pike said expectations still comes with the promising gelding.
“There probably is a bit of extra pressure that comes with a horse like him but he is a gelding so it doesn’t really affect him – that takes the stress out of it,” he said.
“Being a staying type who will be a better three-year-old, there isn’t quite the expectations that come with the boom two-year-old’s.
“It is a matter of getting some race day experience into him and getting him to a trip that will be suitable.”
Originally published asPike looks to spring with Melody Belle half-brother
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