Hastings’ loss has turned into Te Rapa’s gain as the highly-regarded filly Impendabelle adjusts her racing plans.
Trainer Tony Pike has decided to skip Saturday’s Group 2 Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) due to weather concerns and instead focus on a race a day earlier at Te Rapa.
Impendabelle, currently sharing the fourth line of betting at +1100 for the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), will make her second appearance as a three-year-old on Friday.
Pike explained his decision, saying, “I just don’t want to give her another trip away and run on a heavy track, so we’ll miss the Guineas.
“She’ll stay in at Te Rapa where it’s going to be the first race on Friday, so if it comes up a reasonable surface, she’ll run there.”
Impendabelle had a successful season last year, winning twice, including the Group 2 Wakefield Challenge Stakes (1100m).
Her latest run saw her finish seventh in the Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m) after a troubled start.
“She was going really well leading into that, and I thought she was a proper live chance,” Pike said of her performance last start.
“Unfortunately, she got pole-axed at the start, and they went slowly, but she ran the quickest last 400 and 200m of the day so she couldn’t have done much more from where she was positioned.
“She ran really well, but obviously had her chances extinguished at the start.”
Despite Impendabelle’s change in plans, Pike is likely to have a runner in the Hawke’s Bay Guineas with Overdrawn set to represent the stable following a sixth-place finish in the Listed El Roca – Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m).
Pike expressed confidence in Overdrawn, saying, “I don’t think anyone can beat Tokyo Tycoon, but our horse has come up really well and he was probably a bit unlucky not to have gone closer to running in the money on the first day.
“He never really got clear until too late, and he has improved a lot off that.
“I think he is a horse that will get through a proper slow track, and the three-year-olds off Tokyo Tycoon on the first day at Hastings look pretty even.”
Pike also has other promising young horses in his stable, and Awatere and Full Moon Fever are set to compete at Te Rapa.
Pike highlighted Awatere’s potential, saying, “He is a nice horse going forward and got hammered at the start at Taupo and closed well late and has taken a lot of improvement from that.”
Both Awatere and Full Moon Fever have nominations for the Group 1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton, and Pike noted the convenience of having return flights to Christchurch should they choose to compete there.
“It will make life a lot easier, but obviously a lot more expensive, if we do decide to go. There is a lot of water to go under the bridge yet to see if they warrant going down there,” he emphasized.