Despite winning the NZ Derby last time out the Tony Pike-trained Rangipo targets the Queensland Guineas 2016 over the Brisbane edition of the Derby this winter.
The super-consistent Stryker three-year-old has won seven of his 12 starts at home for the Cambridge-based Pike including three on the trot this autumn.
The progressive young galloper debuts down under on Saturday in Doomben’s $125,000 Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m), a winnable race for him according to Pike.
After back-to-back Group 2 victories over 2000m and 2100m respectively in February, Rangipo was last seen narrowly hanging on to defeat What’s The Story in the Group 1 NZ Derby (2400m) over the mile and a half on March 5.
Pike though doesn’t believe the gelding is a genuine stayer and will drop him back in distance for his Doomben Cup Day run on the weekend ahead of the $400,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11, at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Also on the Stradbroke Day card is the $600,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), a race Pike has ruled out for his NZ Derby champion.
“He doesn’t really stay but at the time of the Derby he was just in great form and very fit,” Pike told The Courier Mail.
“He only just fell in that day just because of the good horse he is and because of the big heart he has.
“He should be OK fresh at 1350m in the Fred Best but he will be a lot better once he hits the Guineas at a mile.”
Saturday’s Fred Best Classic has attracted a full field of three-year-olds with Rangipo donning the No. 1 saddlecloth with regular rider Vinnie Colgan over for the ride from a gun gate five draw.
Other notable hopes in the line-up the Kiwi will be out to beat include the widely-drawn Gold Coast Guineas winner Takedown who ran third to Japonisme the run before in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) in Sydney, Darren Weir’s recent Morphettville winning son of Street Cry Rageese and the Chris Waller-trained Arrowfield runner-up Counterattack.
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