Trainer Tony Pike has revealed the 2016 Caulfield Cup (2400m) will figure at the major target for Provocative after the three-year-old broke through for an impressive win in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) over the weekend.
Lucky to gain a start in the Queensland Oaks as the race’s first emergency, Provocative jumped well from the gates at Eagle Farm; experiencing a good run in transit before mustering an impressive turn of foot to find the line more than three lengths in the clear of closest rival Ambience.
Pike was understandably delighted with the Zabeel filly’s performance for success in the Queensland Oaks, and told Racing Ahead that she will be set for an appearance in the 2016 Caulfield Cup upon returning to racing and Australian shores in spring.
“Obviously she’s extremely lightly raced,” Pike said.
“It was a big step up in class for her on Saturday, but she handled that well.
“With a bit more racing practice, she’s only going to get better.
“It’s very hard to win a Caulfield Cup obviously with the international horses coming down, but we’ll come down to Melbourne and map out a program towards that race.
“If she can get in on a very light weight and can continue to improve, she might be a chance.”
Pike also saddled Sacred Elixir to success in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m) on Saturday; capping an impressive season that also saw Rangipo win the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m), but the Cambridge-based trainer believes it is Provocative that has the most improvement in store.
“I think she’s got the most upside [of the three]. She’s pretty much untapped. She’s a raw talent,” Pike said.
“If the penny drops and everything goes right on the right day, she can win a big race.”
Debuting to racing for success in the Heat Cool Maiden (1400m) at New Plymouth on December 27th, Provocative ran fourth in the Brinks 3.y.o Plate (1500m) on January 9th.
Returning to winning form in the League 4 Life Foundation BM65 (2100m) on February 4th, the filly out of Betwixt suffered a minor ailment when sixth in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) a fortnight later and was returned to the paddock.
Placing fourth in the NZI BM75 (1600m) at Te Rapa on May 7th, Provocative debuted in Australia for success in the Ipswich Cup Marquees Handicap (2190m) on May 18th.
Ladbrokes.com.au is currently offering the best early 2016 Caulfield Cup odds, for which Provocative can be taken at a generous $26 quote for success.