Pike to ride King Louis in Derby
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange reckons the 1,800m Singapore Derby trip will suit his charge
Perennial Perth champion jockey William Pike will be back for yet another quick visit to Kranji.
He has been booked to ride King Louis in Sunday's week's $1 million Group 1 Singapore Derby over 1,800m.
Trainer Ricardo Le Grange and King Louis' owner, Steve Levar, are certainly rapt that the 33-year-old star jockey has accepted the ride.
King Louis did not quite make his presence felt in the first two legs of the Singapore Four-Year-Old Challenge.
The horse was 10th in the Group 3 Silver Bowl over 1,400m and eighth in the Group 2 Stewards' Cup over 1,600m but Le Grange said he was just warming up to the task for the grand final.
"The first two legs were short of his best. The 1,800m is more suitable," said the South African trainer. "He'll actually be even better over 2,000m and above, but there aren't that many races like that here."
Le Grange said that the four-time winner (1,200m to 2,000m) has pulled up in great order since his the Stewards' Cup run on June 30 and has been working a treat since.
"I can't complain with what he's done so far. The Derby is right on track for him," said Le Grange. "I was happy with the way he has pulled up after the Stewards' Cup.
"His work has been fine and I'm sure he'll be presented in good condition for the Derby."
Well on his way to an 11th title - he is on 135 winners and 95 ahead of the next rider, Chris Parnham - Pike has been a regular hit-and-run visitor at Kranji in the last three years.
This will be his ninth stint - provided his licence is approved by the Singapore Turf Club. His last visit was in November, when he finished unplaced aboard Bahana in the Group 1 Dester Singapore Gold Cup.
King Louis will be his third Singapore Derby ride. He was second on Lim's Samurai for Laurie Laxon in 2017.
Pike, who has ridden four winners at Kranji, broke Frank "Tiger" Moore's record in the WATC Derby with an eighth success aboard Regal Power in April.
To date, he has ridden more than 2,300 winners over 16 seasons.