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Kiwi horseman Tony Pike believes his well-travelled sprinter Endless Drama can give the favourite Trekking a run for his money fresh in Perth’s Winterbottom Stakes 2019 on Saturday.
A host of interstate raiders along with the New Zealand-trained Endless Drama head west this weekend to take on the locals in the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
Among them are three for Godolphin including the hot favourite, Stradbroke Handicap champion Trekking currently paying $3 to win in the Winterbottom Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The James Cummings-trained Trekking has had four runs this campaign including a third in The Everest and last start Redzel Stakes second in Sydney.
While those form lines look strong, Cambridge trainer Pike is hoping that the form from across the Tasman will be the one to follow into this year’s Winterbottom.
“Endless Drama will probably start second or third favourite behind Trekking,” Pike told the NZ Racing Desk.
“Trekking has been to a few dances so hopefully he’s getting a bit tired and we can beat him fresh-up.”
Pike saddles-up the former Chris Waller-trained import Endless Drama in the 15-horse Winterbottom Stakes field, the Lope De Vega eight-year-old first-up.
Enticed by the nice prize money and expenses-paid trip over to WA for the Festival of Perth Racing, Pike is confident Endless Drama will make his presence known in the weight-for-age clash.
“It looked a nice option for him and outside of Melbourne it’s a tier down,” Pike said.
“The club was keen to get him there when taking into account his form around Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark and they’ve paid all the transport as well as some other costs.”
Two back on August 17 the entire defeated subsequent Cox Plate third placegetter Te Akau Shark home by three-quarters of a length to win the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m).
That race at Te Rapa also featured the brilliant Melody Belle (4th) won her 10th Group 1 success down under on VRC Derby Day in the Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).
She followed that with a brave Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) second from barrier 15 of 16 behind Irish raider Magic Wand just seven days later over the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Endless Drama meanwhile had excuses following his Foxbridge win when finishing a distant 13th next-up behind Melody Belle at Hastings in the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
It’s a run Pike is willing to forgive and forget ahead of the horse’s return on Saturday where he will be looking to add to a nice first-up record (8:2-1-3).
“He was caught wide in the Tarzino and we battled foot problems with him from there on,” Pike said.
“He’s been off for a while, but he goes well fresh and as long as he gets a reasonable draw, he should be a big chance.”
Despite the slight travel setback when a fuel leak left a number of Perth-bound gallopers stranded in Melbourne last Monday, Endless Drama has been ticking all the boxes since his delayed arrival.
“He was all set to go when it happened, so he went back to the stables,” Pike said.
“He’s so laidback it didn’t worry him. After all, he’s been all around the world.
“[Travelling foreman] Mark [Hills] took him over and he rides him in all his work here at home, so he knows him well. He worked him on the course proper at Ascot on Saturday morning and was rapt with his work.”
Winterbottom Stakes odds online list Endless Drama as a $15 shot ahead of Tuesday night’s barrier draw.
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