In what was a memorable day for premiership jockey William Pike, his winning ride aboard Northpace in the $50,000 Dayana Plate 2000m would not only land the final leg of a race day treble, but also answer the telling question as to who was the best local 3yo colt/gelding over a staying trip.
Prerace markets had the Fred Kersley trained Northpace ($2.60 fav) and Purple Tiger ($2.80) evenly matched, as late money poured in for both prospects. But like most of the expected “two horse wars” touted this Belmont season, the result would again prove decisively different.
Northpace was backing up from a luckless run in last month’s Belmont Guineas 1600m, which had seen the North Cape gelding majorly inconvenienced between the 400 and 200 metre mark in that race, before finally pushing between horses and flashing home for third. With an extra two furlongs on offer today, Pike’s plan would be to avoid the “clutter” at all costs and utilise the geldings’ supreme finishing power late in the race. With this in mind, and having drawn the widest of runners (barrier 11 of 11), it was no surprise when Northpace was dropped out to last upon barrier rise.
And the plan could not have unfolded any better. With plenty of speed up front, Pike took off on Northpace at the 800m, circling the field with consummate ease, before opening the flood gates in the straight and storming to the line for a devastating 3 ½ length hiding.
Mimicking todays AFL result, “North”pace (Melbourne) proved far too strong for all the “Tigers” (Richmond) – Go Tiger ($10.00) finishing off best of a beaten lot for second, while dual fancy Purple Tiger surrendered a long way out and limped home for eighth. Trade Down ($8.50) made up the minors finishing a distant 5 ¾ lengths third.
Northpace is yet to miss the money, with three wins and two placing’s from its impressive five start career.
And just for the record: North Melbourne 19.14 (128) murdered Richmond 8.18 (66) – take that Lucky Stuey – GO NORTH and GO NORTHPACE…