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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Wednesday, February 22 2017

With last week's dry run out of the way, exciting Tony Pike-trained two-year-old Aim Smart looks poised to continue his successful march towards Group One juvenile spoils.

Aim Smart - Trish Dunell

Smart Missile colt was accepted for last Saturday's Gr.3 Phoenix Park 2yo Classic at New Plymouth but withdrawn because of the slow eight track, meaning Pike had to rely on his fallback option of this weekend's Listed Reid & Harrison Slipper (1200m) at Matamata.

"Purely the track conditions. I didn't want to risk the horse on a slow eight track. He's got a massive action on him and it would have been a mistake running down there," Pike said of the scratching.

That means Pike will now have to welch on a "gentleman's agreement" with Matamata trainer Lance O'Sullivan that Aim Smart would avoid clashing with the O'Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained Summer Passage before next month's Gr.1 Sistema Stakes (formerly the Diamond Stakes) at Ellerslie.

Aim Smart defeated the highly-regarded Summer Passage by three lengths at Pukekohe on debut, with both horses indicating Group One potential.

"Matamata is a nice backup option for us and going this week instead of last Saturday doesn't change anything for us," Pike said.

"He worked in company with [Karaka Million-placed stablemate] Felton Road on Tuesday and his work was outstanding. He's a clean-winded horse and safely through this he'll head to the [Sistema Stakes] at Ellerslie.

"If he happened to win that and win well, then we'd talk with the Michael [Wallace, racing manager for owner China Horse Club] and the crew and decide our next move. He could head to Manawatu for the Sires there or he could go to Sydney where he's nominated for the ATC Sires' Produce Stakes."

Pike will shoot for a rare Matamata two-year-old feature stable double with impressive Te Aroha debut winner Ujjayyi ranking among the leading chances for the Gr.2 J Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders' Stakes (1200m).

"She was probably a bit tardy away that day but from the good draw she was able to drive through and take up a good spot. She won reasonably well with her ears pricked and she's trained on well since," Pike said.

"This is a big step up but she's a huge talent and gate one is a big advantage. Her work has been very good and the only slight concern is that she hasn't trialled or raced left-handed but that where that draw is so good.

"This will be a big test for her against fillies that are a bit more proven than her."

Pike could yet have three runners in the Sistema Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie on March 11, with Felton Road, who heads to Ellerslie for a jump-out there next Tuesday, set to join Aim Smart and Ujjayyi in one of just two Group One two-year-old races on the New Zealand racing calendar.

Posted by: AT 08:56 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email