Much-awaited visit of Willie Pike to Queensland under threat from COVID border closures
Willie Pike‘s billing as a star attraction at the start of the Queensland winter racing carnival has been thrown into doubt due to the state border closures sparked by the snap COVID lockdown in Perth.
And Pike‘s Group 1 rides in South Australia next Saturday are also in doubt.
Pike had been booked to ride Flexible for Godolphin in the Australasian Oaks and Sisstar for Tony and Calvin McEvoy in the Robert Sangster Stakes.
The following week, Pike and his young family were set to jet to the Gold Coast for The Coast‘s big meeting of the winter carnival which features Doomben Cup aspirants running in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes.
Pike has been booked to ride Fifty Stars in the Hollindale. Fifty Stars showed he was on track to pluck some Queensland racing riches when finishing only a length and a half off Kolding in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
Sisstar ridden by William Pike wins the Widden Victoria Bel Esprit Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on April 17, 2021 in Caulfield, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos via Getty Images)Source:Getty Images
Pike had been lured to ride on the Gold Coast by turf club officials who were keen to use his starpower as a promotional tool for their raceday.
The ‘wizard of the west’ has never ridden in Queensland before.
However Pike‘s manager Dale Verhagen said the jockey’s presence in South Australia next Saturday and the Gold Coast the following Saturday was now unclear.
Border closures currently mean travellers flying in from Perth have to abide by a 14-day quarantine period.
Verhagen said Pike has been in a state of virtual self-isolation in Perth given the racing rules set down by officials in the west.
On that basis, he hopes health officials in other states may allow Pike to travel interstate.
More will be known in the next few days and if and when Perth‘s three-day lockdown ends.
Originally published asBorder closures put Pike Queensland assault in doubt
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