Pike shooting to win Australian Guineas
Leading Perth trainer Sean Casey has had to venture to Melbourne to gain the services of his champion local jockey Willie Pike but he is thankful for the rare opportunity .
Pike will ride Dom To Shoot for the Sean and Jake Casey stable in the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Casey said he had little hesitation in accepting the offer when Pike’s manager Dale Verhagen rang him and said he was keen to ride Dom To Shoot in the three-year-old feature.
“It’s very difficult to get him to ride our horses in Perth as he’s committed to Mr Peters’ horses who are usually the superior horses at home. He’s very loyal to him and that’s understandable,” Casey said.
Casey said Pike had ridden for him in Western Australia but infrequently.
“I’m very happy to have him on,” Casey said.
“I’ve spoken to him and although he hasn’t ridden the horse he said he knew him quite well because he had ridden against him so many times.”
Dom To Shoot, who is by Shooting To Win, is named after West Coast premiership hero Dom Sheed and his feat in kicking the winning goal from the boundary line late in their 2018 grand final win over Collingwood.
Dom To Shoot made his Victorian debut in the C S Hayes Stakes where he produced a fast-finishing fifth behind Tagaloa.
That was his first run since his third in the Group One Kingston Town Stakes behind two star local gallopers in Truly Great and Inspirational Girl.
“We were very happy with his run. He bungled the start from a wide barrier and had to go back a long way,” Casey said.
“He had to make a long sweeping run and he probably peaked with 100 metres to go.
“He’s since had a jump out at Flemington and with the run under his belt he’s ready to run well.
“The form from the Kingston Town Stakes is very good and he’s got a good barrier.”
Casey said they hoped Dom To Shoot ran well enough to gain a wildcard into the All-Star Mile.
“Hopefully he can run in the placings or do enough to catch the eye to get in,” he said.