(By John Jenkins)
Cambridge trainer Tony Pike achieved one of the most satisfying wins of his career when former Australian galloper Endless Drama gave weight and a beating to his rivals in today’s Group 2 $100,000 Manco Easter Handicap at Ellerslie.
Carrying equal topweight of 59kg, Endless drama capitalised on a great ride from jockey Leith Innes to score a neck decision over the fast finishing Watch This Space, with third placed Yearn another three-quarters of a length back.
Endless Drama was trained until earlier this year by top Sydney horseman Chris Waller and was left in Pike’s care after he failed to fire in the Group 1 Haunui Weight-for-age Classic (1600m) at Otaki in February.
Today’s race was the horse’s third start for Pike, with the first two resulting in a fourth over 1600m at Tauranga and a fast finishing second over 1200m at Hastings last Saturday.
Endless Drama is owned by Qatar Bloodstock, who Pike had trained for earlier in his career, and he also has a close association with Chris Waller.
“I was lucky enough to train for Qatar Bloodstock some years back now and when the horse failed at Otaki, Chris (Waller) said to them he was probably better placed here rather than go back to Sydney,” Pike said.
“They left him here and the change of environment with an older horse has really improved him.
“Chris is a good mate of mine so it’s nice to be able to improve one off him.”
Pike said Endless Drama, who is huge in stature, has a minor wind affliction and needs to be held up in his races and saved for one late run.
It was a superb ride by Leith as I said to just try and hold him up for as long as you can,” he said.
“He sat and waited until the 200m to let him go and he has got an electric turn of foot that he showed at Hawke’s Bay last week.
“We thought we had him back in form then and we were quietly confident heading into today.”
Innes said drawing barrier two assisted Endless Drama today as he was able to position the horse just in behind the pace without having to bustle him.
“I was able to ride him just where he was happy and he’s such a big gentle giant the 59 kilograms wasn’t going to worry him,” Innes said.
Endless Drama, who finished third behind wonder mare Winx at just his second Australian start, has now won four of his 23 career runs and just over $580,000 in prizemoney.