The first black-type prize of the Hastings Spring Carnival is heading back to Cambridge after the Tony Pike trained Cyber Attack claimed the Listed El Roca-Sir Colin Meads Trophy (1200m) on Saturday.
The Shamexpress gelding took consistent form into the three-year-old contest and was one of the favoured candidates although he was expected to play second fiddle to stablemate Stella Noire who was unbeaten in one run as a two-year-old.
Those predictions were tipped upside down as Cyber Attack and rider Vinnie Colgan chased down race favourite Qiji Express early in the run home before holding out the late charge of maiden galloper Cavallo Veloce. Sagunto made good ground to snatch third from Qiji Express with Stella Noire labouring on the slow7 surface to finish near the rear of the ten-horse field.
Colgan was taken with his mount’s efforts where he felt the benefit of race fitness played heavily in his favour.
“He stepped okay and there was a fair bit of speed on,” he said.
“I tracked Matty Cameron (Qiji Express) all the way and the breaks came our way.
“He’s a fit horse as he’s had four runs back this winter so I knew he was going to keep going strongly to the line.”
Pike also admitted that race fitness played a major role in the victory.
“He was coming in as a fit racehorse with a good barrier draw as well,” he said.
“He’s very honest, very fit so it was probably no surprise.
“He just loves his work, loves his racing and will continue to improve.”
Pike has his eye on the Gr.2 Sacred Falls Hawke’s Bay Guineas (1400m) in October as a major target for his charge.
“We will be back here for the Guineas,” he said.
“I will see how he pulls up as he has had a few runs in this preparation but the possibility is that he will go straight into the race.
“He’s been crying out for 1400m, so I think that won’t hold any fears.”
Pike was philosophical about the performance of Stella Noire which he put down to the slow track.
“She’s been a touch disappointing, but she dipped and dived in the ground a fair bit,” he said.
Cyber Attack took his career record to three wins from 7 starts with $65,000 in prizemoney with the victory.