William Pike produced a gem of a ride to steer Elite Belle to victory in the 2014 Railway Stakes at Ascot this afternoon.
Elite Belle was settled towards the tail of the field in the early stages of the Railway Stakes and Pike managed to find the rail on the daughter of Canny Lad mare and she travelled into the race nicely, while The Cleaner set the pace in the early stages of the race.
The six-year-old looked as though she was going to be blocked for a run coming into the straight, but Pike managed to weave his way through the field and she hit the front at the right time to score a maiden win at Group 1 level in the Railway Stakes.
Pike admitted that he was bitterly disappointed to have finished second on Disposition in the Group 2 WA Guineas (1600m) earlier in the day, but the leading Western Australian hoop was delighted to have bounced back and scored his first win in the Railway Stakes.
“It feels great,” Pike said.
“I actually had a great run; she began well and I was just able to switch across behind heels and found myself on the fence and I had a great run in transit.
“I started having to navigate traffic coming up to the 600 and I saw my opening.
“Fuchsia Bandana kicked and that presented me with an opening and this little horse has a great kick on her.
“She doesn’t even travel, she does it from off the bit and you just have to trust that she has got it and she has never let us down.
“When she lets down it is electric and it is the greatest feeling.”
Trainer Grant Williams had three horses in the Railway Stakes field and he admitted after the race that he thought Elite Belle faced an impossible task from her position coming into the straight and confessed that he had shifted his attention to her stablemate Respondent.
Williams was quick to pay credit to the ride of Pike and he believes that the Railway Stakes victory is the greatest achievement of his training career to date.
“He is the best over here for a reason and everybody knows that we call him the wizard for a reason,” Pike said.
“Good jockeys win big races and that was one of the best.
“He just gets the best out of them, he balances them up and she has a good kick.
“I’ll be honest, I started to watch Respondent and I thought that we had too many horses to get through and through the corner of my eye I saw a horse coming through and I went ‘that couldn’t be Willy could it’ and it was and I couldn’t believe it.
“This is by far the biggest thing I have ever done and it is just amazing.”
Williams confirmed that Elite Belle would contest the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in a fortnight and has the chance to become the first horse since Sniper’s Bullet in 2009 to complete the Railway Stakes/Kingston Town Classic double.
Balmont Girl produced another excellent performance to storm home late to finish second in the Railway Stakes, while Moriarty stamped himself as a leading contender for the Kingston Town Classic with a fast-finishing third.
The Cleaner received plenty of support in the lead-up to the Railway Stakes, but the popular gelding was quickly tackled in the straight and is set to be sent for a well-deserved stint in the spelling paddock.