Pike back in Perth to secure jockey’s title

West Australian jockey William Pike will resume riding in Perth on Wednesday in a bid to secure this season’s jockey premiership after completing a three month riding stint in Hong Kong.

When Pike left for Hong Kong he had ridden sixty-seven metropolitan winners and looked like having an unbeatable lead and even though Peter Knuckey has made ground, he is still seven winners behind Pike with four meetings left until the end of the season.

But Pike wants to secure this year’s title and has put off an end of season holiday after riding a winner on the final day of the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s racing season.

“I wouldn’t be going straight home otherwise,” Pike said.

“Peter Knuckey needs seven wins from the four meetings to catch me … hopefully I can get a win and clinch it.”

Knuckey has ridden twenty winners while Pike was riding in Hong Kong and has six mounts at Belmont on Wednesday compared to Pike’s four.

Pike’s manager Dale Verhagen has also taken rides for the jockey at Northam on Thursday as well as Belmont.

“He’s riding Foo Foo The Snoo and Deportment for Lindsey Smith on Wednesday,” Verhagen said.

“William’s also accepted Belmont engagements for Ambers Kingdom and Weekend Rustler.”

“We’ve taken early bookings for William to ride Ontrust, Matron Geojack, Strike Two and Esprit De Mer at Northam.”

Pike went out a winner in Hong Kong riding 2013 Mercedes-Benz Hong Kong Derby hopeful It Has To Be You in the Class 3 Sight Winner Handicap (1400m) for trainer John Size.

“1400m looked a bit short for him, but he certainly lengthened nicely, stuck his neck out and looks like horse wants more ground,” Size said.

“To win in Class Three with 133 pounds at his second start here, he has done a good job and he looks like he will win more races.”

Pike said that It Has To Be You was a tough, competitive galloper and was always willing to dig deep in a tight finish.

“He is not a devastating horse that is going to sit behind them and go “bang” and put five on them, I think he’ll only ever win by a neck, but they’ll have a hard time getting past him,” Pike said.

“He is competitive and there is a little bit of ability there as well. He was there to be beaten at the end, but he is tough and game and didn’t want to throw it in.”

“I was in the right spot but with the big weight and after covering a little bit of ground, I was vulnerable if something had the legs to get me, but he just fought really well.”

Jockey Tim Clark completed a good first season in the competitive Hong Kong racing scene and managed to ride twenty-eight winners after competing at all eighty-three meetings and escaped any careless riding suspensions.

“I have never been one to fall foul of the stewards,” Clark said.

“I feel I am as competitive as anyone out there, so it is not as if I am not just being careful … sometimes you push the boundaries a bit, but so far I haven’t been in trouble, touch wood.”

Leading jockey Douglas Whyte had to sit out the final two meetings because of a shoulder injury but still wrapped up the jockey’s with 107 winners, the fifth time he has ridden over 100 winners for the season.

Australian riders Zac Purton and Brett Prebble fought out the second and third positions with Purton snatching the runner’s up spot with sixty-four wins, one ahead of Prebble.

And Australian trainer John Size wrestled the trainer’s premiership back off John Moore to chalk up his sixth title with seventy wins while Moore was relegated to second spot with fifty-six wins.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.