Willie Pike plans a return to Victoria for the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate

WA equestrian star Willie Pike had a stellar Spring Carnival in Victoria last year and he wants to return for more Group 1 loot.

The Wizard of the West Willie Pike is considering a raid on the Victorian Spring Carnival’s greatest spoils – the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

The Western Australian equestrian star was a popular visitor to the Spring Carnival last year and spent several months outside of his WA home looting Victorian Group 1 loot.

This year it’s a different scenario, as Pike is only considering a Victorian stay of just over three weeks.

But with Sydney jockeys almost certainly not going to be able to ride in Victoria this spring due to the NSW Covid-19 mayhem and tough border restrictions, Pike has additional reason to pounce.

WA is currently considered a green zone by the Victorian government, which means Pike can travel to Victoria as long as he is given permission.

And the elite jockey, who scored four Victorian Group 1s in 2020-21, would be happy to go into a two-week quarantine on his return to Western Australia if he has to do so under the restrictions then.

Pike told News Corp: “I’m really confident about reaching Victoria.

“In a perfect world, I want to be at the Caulfield Cup and stay there for a few weeks.

“With the currently changing (Covid-19) landscape, I can’t really plan far in advance.

“I will just keep monitoring the situation and will certainly make an effort to reach Victoria if it can be done.”

Pike was one of the stories of the Spring Carnival last year when he got away with many big races including Group 1 Caulfield Guineas on Ole Kirk and Group 1 Caulfield Stakes on Arcadia Queen.

He returned this fall to score another Group 1 pair – the Oakleigh Plate at Celebrity Queen and the William Reid Stakes at Masked Crusader.

Pike has no spring carnival rides set in stone if he makes it to Victoria for the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

Pike’s main supporter in the West – Leviathan owner Bob Peters – is unlikely to have as strong an arsenal for the Spring Carnival as last year.

However, there would certainly be no shortage of coaches eager to secure Pike’s services for Group 1 rides, especially considering there might be a shortage of elite jockeys as Sydney hoops almost certainly won’t will be to cross the border.

For example, Pike has built a strong bond with Team Hawkes.

On Pike’s 35th birthday earlier this year, he booked a Caulfield Cup seat for the Hawkes-trained Mount Popa, who united for a memorable Mornington Cup victory.

At the time, trainer Wayne Hawkes joked that he didn’t want Pike to go home to WA after winning the Mornington Cup and also win Group 1 William Reid on Masked Crusader the night before.

A Racing Victoria spokesperson said that since WA is currently a green zone, there are no additional requirements from the racing industry beyond state requirements to allow Pike to ride in Victoria.

Originally published as Willie Pike planning a return to Victoria for the Spring Majors

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