Pike to ride at Rocky Winter Carnival
Champion West Australian jockey William Pike, tagged “The Wizard of the West”, will bring his skills north-east to Rockhampton as guest rider for the 2021 Rockhampton Winter Racing Carnival.
It was announced on Friday by Rockhampton Jockey Club CEO Tony Fenlon that Pike would be the carnival ambassador and will ride at both feature days, the Newmarket and Cup day.
“We are delighted to announce that William Pike will be the club’s special guest and will be available for race rides on both the Newmarket (Friday, July 9) and the Rocky Cup meeting on Saturday, July 10,” Fenlon said.
“This is a huge coup for Rockhampton racing and provides the people of Central Queensland the opportunity to see firsthand one of Australia’s, if not the world’s, best jockeys in action at Callaghan Park.
“I believe at the moment William Pike is number one in Australian racing.”
The CEO said he and resident race broadcaster Russell Leonard had been working on getting Pike to the Rocky Winter Carnival for three years.
Pike 35, has attained celebrity status Australia wide in recent years after dominating Perth racing as premier rider for the last decade.
A farmer based on a property at Beaufort River a few hours’ drive out of Perth, the lightweight hoop (51kg) has ridden 2688 winners since his career commenced in 2002.
Pike can also lay claim to 13 Group 1 victories including one in Hong Kong, while he has ridden four of these in the current season.
During the 2018/19 season he set an Australian record of 234 winners but he surpassed that the following season winning the Australian premiership with a staggering 239 victories.
Little wonder horses ridden by Pike have tallied $96 million in prize money with him on board.
He is revered in his home state of West Australia where at racecourses punters break into a chant “Back Pike – Drink What You Like”.
However, Pike is both a non-drinker or smoker and his liquid of choice is a cup of tea while he delights in dairy milk chocolate.
It is a given that the RJC will have ample supplies of both when Pike is the guest speaker at the club’s Cup Calcutta Luncheon on Thursday, July 8.
This season “The Wizard” has spread his wings so to speak, flying in to ride at feature race meetings throughout Australia such as the Hollindale Cup races at the Gold Coast last Saturday.
There at his first Queensland ride, he won on the Chris Waller import I Could Do Better (IRE).
Pike was back in the winners’ stall at Northam in WA on Thursday winning on Nowhiteflag.
He has eight rides at Ascot, Perth, on Saturday including favourites Billy Ray and Graceful Girl ($3.40) as well as Windstorm ($4.80).
In Rockhampton on Saturday a mammoth 10-race TAB card commencing at 10.55am, with 125 starters offering $204k prize money, will be staged.
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