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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Friday, March 10 2017

Divine intervention has kept Cambridge trainer Tony Pike's Gr.1 Auckland Cup dream alive.

Chenille - Trish Dunell

He was all set to withdraw his in-form hope Chenille from the Barfoot & Thompson-sponsored feature due to the sodden state of the Ellerslie track before the call was made to postpone Saturday's meeting.

"A couple of mates rang me on Friday night to say it was hosing down again and I thought it was game over for us," Pike said.

"Her work on Thursday morning was outstanding and I couldn't have been happier – she's the best she's been all season."

Pike has now been given a second chance at the Cup, a race he won in 2015 with Rock Diva, with the meeting now rescheduled for Thursday.

"We need some good weather and strong winds for the track to come back to a reasonable surface," he said.

"Hopefully, it will dry quickly and give us some light at the end of the tunnel."

Chenille won the Karaka Stayers' Cup three runs back before a rain-affected track tripped her up in the Gr.2 Avondale Cup.

The Pentire mare bounced back on a much firmer Ellerslie surface last Saturday with a commanding performance to claim top honours in the Nathans Memorial.

Pike also has his talented two-year-old pair of Felton Road and Ujjayyi in the Gr.1 Sistema Stakes.

The former won his first two starts before finishing third in the Karaka Million while Ujjayyi was successful on debut at Te Aroha. She then ran off on the home bend in the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders' Stakes.

"Felton Road is a smart horse and he's well and Ujjayyi, who clearly doesn't go left-handed, is talented but whether she's professional enough for a race like this I'm not sure," Pike said.

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 06:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email