Dawn Parade has often left trainer Tony Pike scratching his head, but his last two performances have been more in line with the talent he possesses.
The six-year-old is a mercurial character and if he puts his best foot forward he promises to be a major player in the Waikato Stud Foxbridge Plate Day 26 August Handicap (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
“You just don’t know which one is going to turn up, unfortunately he hasn’t got the biggest heart in the world, so it really depends what frame of mind he turns up at the races in,” Pike said.
“He’s probably in the best form he has been in for a while and it was really just the weights that got him last time.”
Off the back of a resuming victory over this weekend’s course and distance, Dawn Parade finished third at Tauranga when conceding 7.5kg and 6.5kg respectively to the first two home.
“He has run two solid races this time in and he’s always a chance in these sorts of races before the really gun open sprinters come out for the spring,” Pike said.
“While there is plenty of give in the ground and the better ones aren’t around, he’s probably going to be competitive in these open sprints.”
Dawn Parade will be opposed on Saturday by his stablemate Tellall, who will be making his first appearance of the year.
“He’s come back from a decent break and his last trial was pretty encouraging and he’s worked really well since,” Pike said.
“I don’t really want to kick him off on a heavy track so hopefully it improves a bit before the weekend.
“He’s in the same boat as the other horse, he’s probably not up to the best of them so we’ll see if we can get a win out of him before the guns come back.”
With the benefit of recent racing, Pike favoured Dawn Parade as the stable’s best chance.
“He’s got those two runs under his belt, so has the race fitness on his side,” he said.
Pike will also be represented by Stash and Preferential in the opening event, the SVS Starting Gates Maiden (2200m).
“They are in reasonable form, no superstars, but their last couple of runs have been solid enough to be each way chances,” he said.
The stable has been going through a rebuilding stage and likely to have limited representation during the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival.
“We have sold a lot of horses in the last 12 months and have got a really nice young team coming through now,” Pike said.
“We’ll probably take 20 to the trials at Avondale next Tuesday and we had a lot trial nicely at Te Rapa, so hopefully two or three of them will put their hands up to get down to Riccarton for the (Cup) carnival.”
One filly Pike has pencilled in for Hawke’s Bay is Impendabelle, who won last season’s Gr.2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m) and ended her campaign when fifth in the Karaka 2YO Million (1200m).
“She trialled super at Te Rapa and will have a quiet one in the Group and Listed trial at Taupo and then go straight to the Gold Trail Stakes (1200m),” he said.
“She had the form on the board as a two-year-old and looks to have come back in good shape.
“From an older horse point of view, Not Guilty has come back a lot stronger and should be competitive in a lot of the nicer sprints up to Group Two and Three level.”
Not Guilty has won four of her 12 starts and was spelled after finishing runner-up in the Listed Power Turf Sprint (1200m) at Hastings in April.
“She will probably kick off at Te Rapa on September 17 and then could go to Hastings for the Red Badge Spring Sprint (Gr.3, 1400m).
“She could be a perfect one to head down to Christchurch, if they’re got a plane going, for the Stewards (Gr.3, 1200m) or the Valachi Downs Breeders’ Stakes (Gr.3, 1600m).” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk.