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Kiwi Trainer Lured by Perth's Riches
Although a regular raider at many Australian feature meetings, Cambridge trainer Tony Pike is yet to visit the Perth carnival, and is eagerly anticipating the Gr1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday in which he is starting multiple Gr2 winner Endless Drama (Lope De Vega-Desert Drama, by Green Desert). The well-travelled 8YO has been entrusted to former jockey Mark Hills at Simon Miller's stable whilst on the West Coast, and they have given Pike the thumbs up in advance of his own maiden trip on Wednesday. "He worked him on the course proper at Ascot on Saturday morning and [Mark] was rapt with his work," Pike told the NZ Racing Desk. "The club was keen to get him [to Perth] when taking into account his form around Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark and they've paid all the transport as well as some other costs." Following a dominant victory in the Gr2 Foxbridge (1200m) at Te Rapa in August, the stallion failed to fire in the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) a fortnight later, pulling up with foot problems that Pike is confident they have beaten. "He's been off for a while, but he goes well fresh and as long as he gets a reasonable draw he should be a big chance."