Provocative gives Pike a group 1 double in Queensland Oaks

Provocative provided New Zealand trainer Tony Pike with a group 1 double at Eagle Farm on Saturday by taking out the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.

Pike had tasted success earlier in the day with Sacred Elixir in the Group 1 J.J. Atkins and three-year-old filly Provocative proved too good for its rivals in the Oaks.

The daughter by Zabeel was fortunate to get a run in the field after the scratching of Beluga Blue opened a spot for it in the final 18, and it took full advantage as it cleared away for an impressive win over Ambience and Falkenberg.

New Zealand-based jockey Leith Innes was in the saddle to notch one of his biggest career wins.

“He had a little bit of luck in the run,” Innes said. “We got a nice drag into the race, but got there a but soon.

“All the owners wanted to do was win a Derby, but they’ll be happy with an Oaks. Tony Pike’s a champion trainer.”

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Race favourite Falkenberg raced to the front early in the straight, but the flashy filly Provocative had the sit on it before pulling away over the final 100m. Pike was concerned when Innes had the filly on the rails, but getting wide in the straight was key to the victory.

“I was actually about to curse him about being on the fence,” Pike said. “We talked about being three wide. She’s travelled into the race super from the 600m.

“It was a little tight getting in (the field), but she managed to win at Ipswich and sneak into the Oaks and here we are today.

“She still wants to do things wrong, but she will only get better as she matures. She’s got Zabeel up to equal his old man (Sir Tristram).”

The win continued a great carnival for the Kiwi runners which scored three major wins on the day. Pike trained two and Benzini took out the Brisbane Cup for Adrian and Harry Bull and jockey Rosie Myers.

“It’s been a super day. It’s been a great carnival this year.”

Provocative was well backed early in the betting when markets opened two weeks ago. It opened at $12 and ended up paying $7 at Sportsbet.com.au.

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