Trainer Tony Pike failed to make much of an impact during the last year’s Brisbane Winter Carnival, but is confident classy three-year-old Raghu and will reverse his fortunes upon returning to the Sunshine Stakes in 2016.
Raghu has been a strong and consistent performer for Pike through a short but impressive racing career so far; posting an impressive two wins and six minors through only nine competitive starts since debuting in late 2015.
Having savaged the line for third in the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) last time; beating home the likes of subsequent Australian Derby champion Tavago as well as Valley Girl and Capella, Pike told The Courier Mail he is more than confident the horse can win the 2016 Queensland Derby (2400m).
“There were a few people who wanted to pit the Derby form when it was a bunched finish, but the top six or seven out of it have proven it’s a good race again,” Pike said.
“New Zealand three-year-old form has always held up pretty well.
“This will be his last preparation for me. He is owned in Hong Kong, so after Brisbane he will go to Hong Kong and likely be prepared for the Derby up there.”
Raghu debuted to racing for second in the Mainfreight Maiden (1400m) at Te Aroha in October; progressing to a maiden race win in the BDO 3.y.o Maiden (1400m) before failing to fire and eleventh in the Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) on November 28th.
Resuming in late December for third in the Totally Vets BM65 (1400m), the Showcasing colt placed second in the Brinks 3.y.o Plate (1500m) before making a successful transition to black type company with success in the Listed Karaka Mile (1600m) on January 24th.
Running second in the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) on February 6th, Raghu run on for a credible third in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) in what was his only other start prior to the New Zealand Derby on February 20th.
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