Pike lands his biggest HK win and declares he's leaving at end of month
William Pike yesterday landed his biggest win in Hong Kong - the Group Three Bauhinia Sprint Trophy (1,000m) on Craig's Dragon for trainer John Moore, but will not seek to extend his licence at the end of the month and will return home to Perth to prepare for the arrival of his first child.
Pike will exchange finding his feet in one of the most competitive and lucrative riding environments, for the pitter-patter of tiny feet back home - and he is confident he is making the right decision.
'It is making it a bit harder to leave now that I'm finally riding some winners, but at the same time I am leaving Hong Kong in good stead and I can't see why I won't be able to come back at some stage in the future,' Pike said.
'The best thing for me to do personally at the moment is to head home to Perth, and I might even be able to peg back a few of the boys at home and ride some winners there.'
That is the understatement of the year so far, with Pike being a big fish in a small pond at home in the Western Australian capital where he has won the past two jockey premierships - last season's by an impressive 34 winners.
Pike had struggled to ride many winners until early December last year, but has chalked up 11 for the season and claimed his first Group win at Sha Tin.
Moore booked Pike to ride Craig's Dragon when weights were released because regular rider Darren Beadman would not have been able to ride the gelding at the light weight. But a subsequent withdrawal of one of Tony Cruz's topweights meant that all weights were raised - by which time Beadman had already accepted another ride in the race for trainer Manfred Man Ka-Leung.
It was a lucky break for Pike - who has made a habit of taking his chances when presented with even a glimpse of a good ride. He combined with leading trainer John Size to secure a treble when Douglas Whyte was in Japan for the Super Jockeys' Series at Hanshin racecourse late last year and has since ridden a number of other winners for the stable.
'This is definitely my biggest win here, and it was lucky in the way that I was booked for the ride,' Pike said. 'He felt a very fresh and happy horse in the run and I thought his last run wasn't much of a guide to his chances today.
'On face value he was a little disappointing, but he never really got going until late last time and wasn't fully tested.'
Moore has won three of the last five runnings of the Bauhinia Sprint Trophy, adding Craig's Dragon to the wins of Billet Express (2006) and Able Prince (2008).
Craig's Dragon was able to sit on the quarters of favourite Blaze King in the early stages before driving clear for a decisive win over fast-finishing Nightlign and the speedy Wine Win.
Stewards later reported Blaze King was found to have a substantial amount of mucopus in the trachea.