New Zealand trainer Tony Pike is used to crossing the Tasman with horses but will step into new territory with Endless Drama who will be his first runner in Perth.
Pike, who has had success on Australia’s eastern seaboard, is hoping Endless Drama can measure up in the west in Saturday’s Group One Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.
Endless Drama claimed the scalps of Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark early in the season with both those horses performing with distinction in Australia.
“I’ve never taken a horse to Perth before or been there myself so it’s new to me,” Pike told NZ Racing Desk.
“Leith Innes is going over to ride him and we’re heading over on Wednesday.
“Mark Hills took him over and he rides him in all his work here at home so he knows him well. He worked him on the course proper at Ascot on Saturday morning and was rapt with his work.”
Pike decided on the Winterbottom Stakes for Endless Drama after weighing up all Australian possibilities.
“It looked a nice option for him and outside of Melbourne it’s a tier down.”
Endless Drama beat Te Akau Shark (second) and Melody Belle (fourth) in the Foxbridge Plate before finishing unplaced in the Group One Tarzino Trophy (1400m), won by Melody Belle.
“He was caught wide in the Tarzino and we battled foot problems with him from there on,” Pike said.
“He’s been off for a while, but he goes well fresh and as long as he gets a reasonable draw he should be a big chance.”
The Winterbottom Stakes field will include the James Cummings-trained Trekking, winner of the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane in which Endless Drama was third.
Trekking has since won the Group Two Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield and finished third behind Yes Yes Yes in the $14 million Everest (1200m) at Randwick and second to Pierata in the $1 million Redzel Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill.
“Endless Drama will probably start second or third favourite behind Trekking,” Pike said.
“Trekking has been to a few dances so hopefully he’s getting a bit tired and we can beat him fresh-up.”
Endless Drama has settled in well at Simon Miller’s stable after his flight from Melbourne to Perth last week was delayed because of a fuel leak.
“He was all set to go when it happened so he went back to the stables,” Pike said. “He’s so laid-back it didn’t worry him. After all, he’s been all around the world.”
Endless Drama won twice in Ireland, raced in England, chased champion Winx home when third in the 2017 Apollo Stakes at Randwick and won that race the following year before being transferred from Chris Waller to Pike in March.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au