The Lindsay Park stable are eyeing the Sir...
The wizard from the West was up to his old tricks again at Bendigo on Wednesday.
Bendigo Cup winner Top Of The Range enjoyed a peach of a ride from jockey William Pike as the pair staked their claim for a spot in next week’s $8 million Melbourne Cup.
The son of Savabeel opened the race at a handy $8.00 tag with Ladbrokes.com.au but it turned into a bit of a nervous watch for punters as Pike had to fight for position down the straight.
The speed was on early in the race as Angel Of Truth and Sully went forward. Pike’s strategy was to follow Top Of The Range’s stablemate Hangman, but when he found himself six-wide, the pair quickly made a beeline for the rail.
The move to the inside made a difference as Top Of The Range’s turn of foot did the rest. With Brimham Rocks looming on the outside, Pike kicked away to win by no more than a head as they now hope to claim one of the remaining few spots in the
“I was in for a bit of pain if I didn’t get out there,” Pike said after the race.
“There was a bit of early speed and I actually thought I was a couple spots closer than that, didn’t have much early speed, got edged to fence which was another spot I didn’t want to be, but I was following the horse that I wanted to and I was happy with the run I had in transit, just needed somewhere to go.”
Top Of The Range ran second in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Coongy Cup (2000m) at Caulfield a fortnight ago behind the Gai Waterhouse trained Wolfe. Wins have proven hard to come by for the six-year-old Kiwi though, as Wednesday’s result marked Top Of The Range’s fifth win from 27 career starts.
That said, the form stacked up for Top Of The Range who had previously placed in three stakes races this year. Winning trainer Michael Moroney said after the race that he’d wait to see how the horse pulled up before he made a decision on backing up next week but was happy to pay Pike the credit he deserved.
“Great ride. Actually, both of my horses were ridden terrifically, just the other horse stayed the trip better than Hangman did,” Moroney said.
“That was the plan, he (Pike) said he was going to try and follow. They both were always going to get back where they did and Willy always said that he wanted to follow our other horse, and he did on the way. When he was coming up behind them, he had to change ground and that was probably the winning move in the finish.”
Hang Man ran on well for third while Brimham Rocks lost no admirers in second.
Full 2019 Melbourne Cup odds can be viewed here.
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