Perth’s leading jockey William Pike is set to reunite with former West Australian trained Real Love in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Pike was Real Love’s regular rider when she was trained by top Perth conditioner Adam Durrant and the pair combined for six wins in the West including a victory in the 2015 Group 2 $500,000 Golden River Developments Perth Cup (2400m) at Ascot in Perth.
Prominent Perth owner-breeder Bob Peters sent Real Love to Darren Weir after running third in the 2016 Perth Cup and the tough staying mare has visited the winner’s circle on four occasions with Brad Rawiller in the saddle under the care of Victoria’s leading trainer.
Real Love is number sixteen in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup and a good effort in Saturday’s Group 3 $300,000 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington will see her take her place in ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’ on Tuesday.
“If she runs in the cup William will ride her. We’ll have a shot at it if she runs well Saturday,” owner Bob Peters said.
Real Love has had a mixed Spring Carnival preparation and after kicking off her Melbourne Cup campaign with a first up second to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3 was well beaten when seventh to Jameka in the Group 3 $150,000 Bendigo Bank East Malvern MRC Foundation Cup (Naturalism Stakes) (2000m) at Caulfield on September 17.
The Desert King mare then redeemed herself with a win in the Group 3 $200,000 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 30 before running a solid fifth, beaten five lengths, behind Jameka in the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 15.
At her only start at 3200m Real Love ran third to Purple Smile in the Group 2 $400,000 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville during the Adelaide Autumn Carnival this year.
Real Love has been installed as the $3 favourite for the Lexus Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au while in Melbourne Cup betting she is at the juicy double figure odds of $31.
Fifteen horses have been nominated for the Lexus Stakes with Weir also entering prolific placegetter Black Tomahawk along with Honorius.
The Charlie Appleby trained Oceanographer is on the second line of betting at $3.60 ahead of Tom Melbourne at $4.40 and De Little Engine at $6.50 with those three horses all needing to win the Lexus Stakes to gain a place in the Melbourne Cup.
Early Melbourne Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Hartnell, $7 Jameka, $10 Bondi Beach, $11 Heartbreak City $13 Almandin, $16 Big Orange, $17 Scottish, Exospheric, Wicklow Brave, $19 Almoonqith, $21 Curren Mirotic, Oceanographer, $26 Grand Marshall, Who Shot Thebarman, Qewy, $31 Grey Lion, Our Ivanhowe, Real Love, Secret Number, $41 Beautiful Romance, Gallante, Tally, $51 Assign, Tom Melbourne, $61 Excess Knowledge, Howard Be Thy Name, De Little Engine, $81 Pentathlon, Sir John Hawkwood, , $101 Vengeur Masque, $301 Rose Of Virginia, The Bandit.