Pike salutes again in Singapore

Perth champion jockey William Pike is slowly gaining a cult following at Kranji after he made his second Sunday ride count at yet another hit-and-run visit to Singapore.

At his fourth one-day jaunt, Pike is usually called up for bigger meetings like the Emirates Singapore Derby and the just-concluded Dester Singapore Gold Cup when an agonisingly close second aboard Bahana.

There were no such big races this weekend, but Pike was again on a Singapore-bound plane after the Lim’s Stable booked him for three rides at Sunday’s meeting – Lim’s Royal, Lim’s Sincere and Lim’s Elusive. A winner of two races at the Derby meeting in July (Chairman and Mr Crowe), Pike has also picked up six other rides from the 10-race programme, including the James Peters-trained King Of War, his winning mount in the $35,000 Maiden Division 2 race over 1400m.

King Of War (William Pike, No 2) bears down on his rivals to open his account in Race 2, picture Singapore Turf Club

Benefitting from a smart jump from his middle gate, the Exceed And Excel four-year-old who races in the China Horse Club colours was able to slot into an ideal spot on the fence, settling in behind the speed set by Paragon Star (Benny Woodworth).

Turning for home, the leader was immediately collared by Race For Fame (Nooresh Juglall), with Pike waiting for a couple of strides before deciding between the inside or the outside for his final assault.

Pike in the end opted for the outside, where King Of War lengthened up nicely inside the last furlong and a half to catch the duelling pair ahead and score his maiden win at his sixth start.

Paragon Star turned in his best performance to-date to run second another half-a-length away with Race For Fame a little one-paced inside the last 100m to settle for third place another neck away.

Sent out as the $11 favourite, King Of War recorded the winning time of 1min 22.84secs for the 1400m on the Long Course.

“Originally, I wanted to wait for the inside run, but I thought I’d go to the outside instead just to give him more room to accelerate,” said Pike who returned to a warm reception from his growing local fan base at the winner’s stall.

“He gave a nice kick and was able to get there where it mattered. I’ve been in and out a lot of times here, with many placings, and it’s nice to get a win today.”

Deputising for Peters currently in New Zealand to attend the Ready To Run Sale of 2YOs, right-hand man Mick Lockett said the rise to 1400m proved to be the winning formula.

“James wanted to step him up to 1400m and the booking of Pike made it that much better,” said Lockett.

“The horse jumped brilliantly and Pike was able to box-seat him. As he’s got only a short burst over 100m to 150m, the fact that Pike waited that little bit longer before going to the outside probably gave him that little kick left in him at the finish.

“It’s also a good thing he didn’t go to the inside as he would have been chopped out by the other horse (Paragon Star) who rolled in.

“Pike said if he can settle better, he will be able to get 1400m to a mile.”