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Pike's triumphant Railway return

4 min read
Star jockey William Pike made a triumphant return home from three months in Melbourne at Ascot on Saturday, to claim an amazing hat-trick on Inspirational Girl (Reliable Man {GB}) in the $1 million G1 Railway S.

Pike, known as the Wizard, was at his magical best ducking and weaving his way through runners before storming past Too Close The Sun (Carlton House {USA}) and win by a comfortable 1.75l.

Uni Time (Universal Ruler) thundered home to from the back end of the capacity 16-horse field to claim the minor end of the trifecta, with Red Can Man (Gingerbread Man) turning in another honest performance to run fourth.

Pike only came out of two weeks home quarantine at midnight on Saturday morning.

He had to forfeit the Group 1-winning ride on Arcadia Queen (Pierro), ridden by Luke Currie, in the G1 Mackinnon S. at Flemington on November 7 to be available to ride Inspirational Girl.

Pike joins Jimmy Miller, Hint (1929), Coette (1930) and Comparador (1931), as the only other jockey to win a hat-trick in WA’s most prestigious race.

Pike claimed his first win in the Railway on Elite Belle (Canny Lad) in 2014.

He sits equal with Frank Treen, Beau Temps (1951), Maniana (1954), Tudor Mak (1966) and Kilrickle (1970), on four wins, as the jockey to have scored the most wins in the Railway.

Pike’s four Railway winners Elite Belle (2014), Galaxy Star (Fastnet Rock) (2018), Regal Power (Pierro) (2019) and Inspirational Girl, have been for leading WA owner-breeders Bob and Sandra Peters.

The Peters won their first Railway with Old Comrade (Old Spice) in 2001.

Pike rode two Group 1 winners in Melbourne on Arcadia Queen in the Caulfield S. and Ole Kirk (Written Tycoon) in the Caulfield Guineas.

William Pike aboard Ole Kirk

Girl on the ball

“I was very lucky that she (Inspirational Girl) was really on the ball today,” Pike said.

“She jumped really keen which was good as she had been a bit sluggish out of the gates recently. I had to jostle a bit to hold my spot so I didn’t get washed backwards.

“I was going to head out on her at the bend but the run didn’t eventuate. And lucky for me there was run up ahead.

“I was going to head out on her at the bend but the run didn’t eventuate. And lucky for me there was run up ahead." - William Pike

Pike returned to a hero’s applause from a massive crowd gathered along the parade fence to cheer him back to scale.

They broke out into a chant of “Pikey! Pikey!”

“The quarantine was okay because I was at home and I had my cows and animals to keep me company,” Pike said.

“Some days I didn’t do anything but watch Netflix or others I would just poke about.”

Peters paid NZ$190,000 for Inspirational Girl at the New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale but the 5-year-old mare has been a work in progress, having only 11 starts for nine wins and two placings.

First winner

Pike’s first winner back at Ascot was on a close relation to Inspirational Girl called Midnight Blue (So You Think {NZ}) in the Better Your Bet H.

Midnight Blue is from Midnight Special (Zabeel {NZ}) a sister to the dam of Inspirational Girl, Be Inspired.

“It is important to have William on all of our horses,” Bob Peters said.

“We target this carnival every year and we have a lot of rides for him. It was important to me to buy this mare as we have her sister and it is such a great New Zealand family.

“Midnight Special has produced two stakes winners and now this mare has won a Group 1. The family is building and Inspirational Girl feels like part of our family.

“I bought Midnight Special (three wins) just to breed with because she did not have good legs. Her pedigree was just so outstanding I wanted her blood.

Reliable Man (GB), sire of Inspirational Girl | Standing at Westbury Stud

"I have also been using Reliable Man as a stallion so it all came together for me. Inspirational Girl is one of the taller ones for Reliable Man. She took time to develop because she was very immature. I knew she had ability so I just looked after her.”

Peters owned Midnight Blue’s half-sister Neverland (Big Brown {USA}), who won a Listed Challenge S. and awarded the family a Perth Cup quinella, finishing second to Star Exhibit in the 2016 edition.